Scandal of Ballymurphy case
Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD has expressed his “deep concern and anger at the failure of the British government to progress the Ballymurphy case.”
The Sinn Féin leader has been given a copy of a letter sent from the Crown Solicitors Office to the Coroners Service in Belfast which reveals that “serious hurdles have been erected by the British state to the families getting to the truth of events in Ballymurphy in August 1971”
Gerry Adams has written to An Taoiseach Enda Kenny about this.
The letter confirms that the “member of staff assigned to Ballymurphy has been reassigned” and it also reveals that the British MOD ‘has not been able to uncover any records within its control regarding the original cipher list (British Army personnel) at Ballymurphy in 1971 … MOD has not as yet been successful in tracing any ciphered soldiers involved in Ballymurphy.”
Gerry Adams said:
“These are very serious matters which in light of the all-party motion passed by the Dáil on the killing of 11 civilians in Ballymurphy in August 1971 deserves the urgent attention of the Taoiseach.
In March the Taoiseach met the Ballymurphy families and reiterated the Government’s support for the families' quest for the truth and for justice regarding the deaths of their loved ones, including their proposal for an Independent Panel of Inquiry.
The July motion in the Dáil was an important step forward for the families. It supported their campaign and was critical of the British Secretary of State and called on the relevant authorities “to ensure that incidents such as Ballymurphy, and other cases of similar circumstances and contention, are dealt with in a manner and a timescale that meets international human rights standards”.
On July 31st the Crown Solicitors Office wrote to the Coroners Service in Belfast. The letter reveals that the “member of staff assigned to Ballymurphy has been reassigned to another inquest temporarily to assist in the provision of disclosure to that inquest.”
It also notes that the “PSNI has previously advised the Coroner that the resources which the Chief Constable can commit to servicing the legacy inquest process are finite.”
This is an unacceptable situation. It is clear evidence that the British government and system is not dealing with Ballymurphy “in a manner and a timescale that meets international human rights standards”.
The letter from the Crown Solicitor’s Office also states that the British “MOD has stated that it has not been able to uncover any records within its control regarding the original cipher list at Ballymurphy.”
The British MOD states that it “has not as yet been successful in tracing any ciphered soldiers involved in Ballymurphy. Forty seven letters have been sent out to individuals and responses are awaited.”
The deliberate withholding of resources and the failure to speedily identify the soldiers present in Ballymurphy is evidence of a British government and MOD deliberately frustrating the families efforts.
The Irish government has a responsibility and a mandate from the Dáil to challenge the British Prime Minister and government on the way it which it is dealing with the Ballymurphy families and with this case.
It needs to adopt a more robust and assertive approach to ensure that the British government allocate the necessary resources to the Ballymurphy Massacre case.
I have therefore asked the Taoiseach if he will raise these concerns with David Cameron; instruct the Minister for Foreign Affairs to also raise this with the British Secretary of State; and seek from the British government a commitment to allocate the necessary financial and personnel resources to the Ballymurphy Massacre case.”