Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD has criticised the decision of the British Secretary of State Theresa Villiers not to establish an independent review panel into the events in Ballymurphy in August 1971 which saw 11 local people shot dead by the British Parachute regiment.
The Sinn Féin leader has also asked “was the Irish government informed of this decision by the British government? The Taoiseach has already committed to supporting the families. The Irish government needs to move as speedily as possible to get the British government to reverse this bad decision.”
Gerry Adams said:
“The decision by the British Secretary of State is further evidence of a British government determined to prevent victims of British state violence from getting to the truth.
There is effectively an amnesty in place for those British forces who directly killed hundreds of citizens or who through collusion with unionist death squads killed many hundreds more.
I want to commend the Ballymurphy Massacre families. They have shown remarkable courage and fortitude, under the most difficult of circumstances, to get to the truth of the deaths of their loved ones. I am certain that while they will be deeply disappointed and angry at the Villiers decision they will continue to campaign for a Review Panel and for truth.
The Ballymurphy Massacre is one of many unresolved legacy issues. Sinn Féin believes that these issues are best addressed through an independent, international, truth recovery process.
In the absence of that, we have agreed to and are seeking the implementation of the Haass compromise proposals. These include the right of families to choose whether to pursue legal action or to seek maximum truth recovery.”
Note to Editor:
The proposed review panel by the families would examine all of the documents relating to the context, circumstances and aftermath of the deaths of their loved ones.
The Panel would investigate the role of the British Government, British Army, and criminal justice agencies such as the RUC, DPP, the Coroner’s Office and the significance of the media; secure the public disclosure of all of the available documents and publish a detailed, comprehensive report.