Irish government must challenge British on Ballymurphy killings – Adams
Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD speaking in the Dáil today on the all-party motion in support of the Ballymurphy Massacre families called on the Irish government and Oireachtas members “to demand that the British government stop blocking and hiding the truth and agree to an Independent Review”.
Teachta Adams said:
“The Irish government needs to put in place a strategic approach which sees the British government challenged on this issue at every meeting and in every international forum. Unless we do this, the British government will continue to refuse to give the Ballymurphy and other families what they deserve.”
The Sinn Féin leader said:
“Following the introduction of internment in August 9th 1971, thousands of British soldiers, supported by the RUC, smashed their way into hundreds of nationalist homes across the north.
“In the subsequent two days in Ballymurphy, the British Parachute Regiment shot dead 10 civilians - 9 men, including a local priest and a mother of eight children. The innocent victims were: Fr Hugh Mullan, Francis Quinn, Daniel Teggart, Joan Connolly – a mother of eight - Joseph Murphy, Noel Phillips, Edward Doherty, John Laverty, Joseph Corr, and John McKerr. An eleventh man, local community worker Paddy McCarthy, died from a heart attack after a British Army patrol subjected him to a mock execution. Eleven families lost loved ones and fifty seven children were bereaved.
“For four decades, the families have campaigned with great dignity. I have accompanied them to meet successive British Secretaries of State and shadow Secretaries of State. None of them did anything of consequence. We have also briefed successive Taoisigh and Ministers for Foreign Affairs. Are we also going to let them down?
“The tenacity and resolve of the families has seen them compile significant evidence which shows that all who died were killed unlawfully and in breach of Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).
“They have proposed the appointment of an Independent Panel to examine all documents relating to the context, circumstances and aftermath of the deaths of their loved ones. The British Secretary of State has rejected this proposal.
“For that reason, the families are looking to the Irish government and to Oireachtas members to demand that the British government stop blocking and hiding the truth and agree to an Independent Review. This motion is an important step on the road to achieving this.
“Let no one think that voting for this is enough. As this Dáil knows only too well from the British government response to the Dublin and Monaghan bombings, motions on their own will not make a difference.
“The Irish government needs to put in place a strategic approach which sees the British government challenged on this issue at every meeting and in every international forum.
“These matters must be on every agenda between Irish and British officials.
“The full resources of this state must be employed to challenge the actions of a neighbouring state in the killing of Irish citizens.
“Finally, we should not forget that the pain, the suffering and the tragedies from decades of conflict are, for many, as real today as they were when they first occurred. Each anniversary evokes painful memories.
“Over the years, I have met many victims, including victims of the IRA. The grief of all of the victims must be respected and acknowledged and all of us in political leadership have a responsibility to do all that we can to ensure that no future generation suffers the pain of war.
“Notwithstanding the difficulties that exist within the political institutions, there is an onus on the Irish and British governments to implement those elements of the Stormont House Agreement that deal with the past and legacy issues.
“There is no need to wait for the local political parties. Issues of security and for the forces involved are the responsibility of the two governments.”