NAI, Department of Foreign Affairs, 2003/17/406, Extract from Report of the ECHR: Ireland v UK, 25 January 1976
A deliberate decision was taken by the RUC, the British Army and politicians to present the bombing of McGurk's Bar, Belfast on 4 December 1971 as an IRA 'own goal' despite reliable evidence, both eyewitness and forensic, to the contrary in the immediate aftermath. It is an entirely credible proposition that the disinformation campaign that emerged in the aftermath of the bombing was intended to justify the failure to intern any loyalists until February 1973.
The McGurk's Bar bombing had been put forward to the European Commission by the Irish Government as being caused by loyalists to support their claim that the British Government discriminated against Catholics in internment. Sadly, however, the ECHR accepted the deception of the British Government that the explosion had been caused by an IRA bomb 'which had exploded prematurely whilst in transit to its intended target which was a hotel nearly.'