Irish government commits to assisting and supporting the Ballymurphy Massacre Campaign
Sinn Fein president, Gerry Adams TD, has welcomed today’s commitment by the Irish government, during a Topical Issues debate in the Dáil, to “assist” and “support” the Ballymurphy Massacre families “in their search for justice”.
Jan O'Sullivan TD the Minister of State at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade with responsibility for trade and development, also recommitted the Taoiseach to meet with the families.
The Sinn Féin leader raised the issue today (Tuesday) following the decision by the North’s attorney general to re-open the inquests of ten people from the greater Ballymurphy area who were shot dead by the British Parachute Regiment 40 years ago.
He 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. The decision by the attorney general is evidence of the importance of having policing and justice powers transferred”.
Deputy Adams said:
“None of those killed had any connection to any armed group. They were all innocent civilians. And their 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 families also believe that the role of the British state and of its armed forces warrants a full, thorough international investigation and an apology from the British government which recognises their innocence.”
The Sinn Féin leader repeated his view that “the needs of all victims of the conflict must be dealt with. As well as victims of the British state and of unionism there are victims of the IRA, including, as was well publicised during the presidential election, victims in this part of the island.
Sinn Féin proposes that the Irish and British governments invite a reputable and independent international body to establish the creation of an Independent International Truth Commission as part of a viable truth recovery process.
Genuine national reconciliation, an inclusive healing process and the closure which victims, victims’ families and survivors deserve, demands that this matter be resolved.”
Deputy Adams read the names of those killed into the record of the Dáil:
Fr Hugh Mullan (38); Frank Quinn (19), a father of two; Joan Connolly (50), a mother of eight; Daniel Teggert (44); a father of 13; Joseph Murphy (41), a father of 12; Noel Phillips (18); Eddie Doherty (28), a father of four; John Laverty (20); Joseph Corr (43), a father of six; John McKerr (49), a father of two; and Paddy McCarthy (44).
Note to editor:
In her response the minister recommitted to a meeting between the families by the Taoiseach and said: "The government remains committed to assisting the Ballymurphy Massacre Campaign in their search for justice and will continue to support them."