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Adams welcomes Inquest decision

14 November, 2011 - by Gerry Adams

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams TD has welcomed the decision by the north’s Attorney General to re-open the inquests of 10 people from the greater Ballymurphy area who were shot dead by the British Parachute Regiment 40 years ago.

Mr. Adams described the decision as a “landmark legal judgement which provides the families with an opportunity to get to the truth of the killing of their loved ones.”
Mr. Adams added: “The decision by the Attorney General is evidence of the importance of having policing and justice powers transferred”.

The Sinn Féin leader said:

“The killing of 11 people in Ballymurphy 40 years ago by the British Parachute Regiment came just five months prior to the murder by that same regiment of 14 civil rights marchers in Derry. Subsequently, Paratroopers also killed others, including a 14 boy in Lenadoon, a 17 year old in the Clonard area, a student teacher from Downpatrick outside St. Comgalls in Divis Street and Robert McKinnie and Robert Johnstone from the Shankill.

“Six months after Bloody Sunday, on 9 July 1972, they shot dead five people in Springhill. Among the dead was the second Catholic priest to be killed in greater Ballymurphy. He was administering the Last Rites to victims when he himself was cut down. Of the four others killed, three were teenagers and the last was a father of six children who was with the local priest.

“On 9 March 1973 the Parachute Regiment arrived in the Ardoyne area of north Belfast. Within weeks they had shot and killed 5 people, one a 12-year-old boy. In South Armagh a 12 year old schoolgirl was shot dead on 14 August 1976.

“None of those killed had any connection to any armed group. They were all innocent civilians. And there deaths were part of a planned policy by the British government to pacify the community.

“The inquests held into the Ballymurphy victims were a fraud and part of the process of cover-up that accompanied British state killings in the north.

“The decision by the Attorney General is evidence of the importance of having policing and justice powers transferred. Despite the clear evidence in support of the reopening of these inquests a British Attorney General would never have agreed to it.

“The new inquests, held under different rules, provide the families with the possibility of getting to the truth.

“The inquests must now be held without delay and the families must be provided with the necessary resources to ensure that all of the facts are uncovered.

“The AG decided not to reopen the inquest into the death of Pat McCarthy. The families and Sinn Fein will continue to campaign for his inquest to be reopened.” ENDS

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