When a bomb ripped through a Belfast bar in 1971, killing 15, biased cops unjustly blamed the Provisional IRA, a new police report says. Though the bombing was at a Catholic-owned bar, police considered it to be an accidental explosion as the IRA prepared a bomb—the so-called “own-goal” theory, Reuters notes. Victims' families today welcomed the findings, reports the Belfast Telegraph, which they said cleared their loved ones of the four-decade-old allegation that they were would-be bombers.
Even when, in 1977, a loyalist admitted to participating in the attack, police didn’t thoroughly investigate the situation, says Northern Ireland’s police ombudsman, who compiled the 80-page report. “The police investigation had a clear predisposition to the erroneous 'own goal' theory,” he notes, saying the bias “undermined both the investigation and any confidence the bereaved families had in obtaining justice.”