All victims deserve the truth, says Gerry Adams
Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams said he would be prepared to take part in an international process dealing with the past — telling a news conference: “I think that all victims of conflict deserve the truth.”
He was speaking yesterday, 48 hours after publication of the Bloody Sunday report and in the company of other families whose relatives were shot dead by soldiers in Belfast almost 40 years ago.
They want an independent international investigation into the shootings and the Government to issue a statement of innocence and a public apology.
“In the 36 hours after the introduction of internment in August 1971, 11 people — 10 men including a local priest, and a mother of eight children — were killed by the British Army’s Parachute Regiment in the Ballymurphy area,” Mr Adams said.
“None of those killed had any connection to any armed group. They were all innocent civilians.
“All of these families deserve the full support and encouragement of the community and of the Irish government in their efforts to secure an independent international investigation into these deaths.
“We will be meeting the British Secretary of State about these matters.
“The British Government in acknowledging the wrong done in Derry must acknowledge the wrong done in Ballymurphy and elsewhere and to these families.
“It must make a public apology for what it and its armed forces did.”
There is not yet an agreed process for dealing with the past.
Mr Adams has rejected the Legacy Commission, with investi
gation and information recovery units recommended by the Eames/Bradley Consultative Group on the Past.
He dismissed the proposal because of the role the Government would have in establishing the Commission and in writing its remit, arguing instead for an independent, international process – to be established by a body such as the United Nations.
“All families have the right to truth,” he said.
“We need a process and then everybody should be playing their role.”
But the DUP MP Ian Paisley jnr accused Mr Adams of seeking a “one-sided version” of the truth.
“Gerry Adams came out of the Guildhall saying that everyone deserved the truth and most unionists will think that is very rich indeed given that Gerry Adams can’t even admit he was in the IRA,” Mr Paisley said.