HC Deb 11 November 1999 vol 337 cc731-2W
Mr. McNamara

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (1) how many (i) service and (ii) police personnel were on duty and patrolling the Falls road, Belfast in the vicinity of Caffrey's bar(a) from 10 am to 11 pm on 20 May, (b) on 20 April and (c) on 20 March; and what was the time of the last patrol before midnight on 20 May; [94629]

(2) what steps the RUC took following a grenade attack outside of Caffrey's pub in the early morning of 21 May; what damage and injuries were caused in the course of this attack; what conclusions have been reached so far as to the perpetrator of the attack and what is the present stage of the police investigation; [94488]

(3) how many surveillance cameras cover (a) the Falls road, Belfast in the vicinity of Caffrey's bar and (b) the Broadway road and M1 roundabout; if the cameras were functional from 10 pm on 20 May to 2 am on 21 May; if the cameras were monitored through those hours; what action was taken following the grenade-bomb attack on Caffrey's bar; at what time was radio contact made with the RUC concerning the incident; and when a request was received from the RUC to remove and examine the surveillance recording; [94628]

(4) (a) at what time police were notified of a grenade-bomb attack on Caffrey's bar on the Falls road, Belfast in the early hours of 21 May, (b) at what time the police arrived on the scene and (c) what efforts were made to pursue, find and trace the owner of the get-away car. [94630]

Mr. Ingram

[holding answer 19 October 1999]: The Army were not on patrol during the periods given. It is not possible to be specific as to when a particular patrol may have been in the vicinity of a particular building. As an arterial route, the Falls road is used by many police vehicles during the course of a normal day.

The scene was preserved by police between 0105 and 0418 hours. A full investigation was initiated. Two persons received minor shrapnel wounds to legs and arms and further injuries of shock and hearing difficulties were reported later. Damage was caused to three windows of Caffrey's bar and one to the Red Devil bar on the opposite side of the road. It is believed that the attack was carried out by a Loyalist group although no claim of responsibility has been made. The investigation is continuing.

I understand the RUC operate no cameras in the area. However, as part of their investigation they viewed video tapes from the military observation post at Broadway Tower. They proved not to be useful.

The police were notified at 0035 hours on 21 May but were unable to gain access because of a large and hostile crowd. Police gained access at 0105 hours. The getaway vehicle was initially reported as a white car, later as a particular make with a registration number. Nearby loyalist areas were checked with negative results. The vehicle was recovered a number of days later in the York road area of Belfast. It had been purchased with cash from a car dealer in Bangor some two days before the incident by persons using false names.

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