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Gerry Adams calls for inquiry into Ballymurphy killings

Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams has called for a public inquiry into the deaths of 11 people who were shot dead by the Army in west Belfast in 1971.

He said there was little difference between the Bloody Sunday killings and the 1971 Ballymurphy shootings.

A mural was unveiled yesterday in the area commemorating the dead.

Mr Adams said: “It is my strong view that the difference between Bloody Sunday and what happened in Ballymurphy is that Bloody Sunday happened in half- an-hour almost in the presence of television cameras.

“Of course, what happened in Ballymurphy happened over 36 or 48 hours and in the middle of internment and the immediate aftermath.”

The Ballymurphy killings took place during the Army's Operation Demetrius, the arrest of those who would be interned on suspicion of involvement in paramilitary activity. The troops claimed they opened fire after being shot at by republicans.

The victims included Catholic priest Father Hugh Mullan and mother-of-eight Joan Connolly.

Mr Adams is seeking a meeting with Prime Minister Gordon Brown but the premier said Northern Ireland Secretary Shaun Woodward was dealing with it.

The Sinn Fein leader added: “The case that has been put is irrefutable. It is very, very clear that there was a killing operation in Ballymurphy and that the Paras came in, and ironically enough, exactly the same Paras went into Derry a short time after.

“The families want an independent international investigation, they want the British Government to apologise for what it did and they want the support of everyone interested in truth and justice.”

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