Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 28 December 2014

Marchers call for Ballymurphy Massacre probe

The 40th anniversary of the killing of 11 people in Belfast in 1971 was commemorated with a march through the Ballymurphy area yesterday.

Hundreds of people walked behind banners calling for a probe into the shooting of 11 civilians by paratroopers over three days between August 9 and 11.

The event became known as the Ballymurphy Massacre.

The shootings started during the launch of the army operation to enforce internment without trial. The paratroopers claimed they were shot at as they entered the area and returned fire. These claims were disputed by the relatives of those killed and injured.

Among those killed was a Catholic priest who was going to the aid of a wounded man.

Ballymurphy relatives have called for an inquiry similar to that held into Bloody Sunday, which happened a short time later, also involving the Paratroop Regiment.

Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams echoed those calls at yesterday's rally. Mr Adams said: "After the publication of the Saville Report, the British Prime Minister David Cameron said that the events of Bloody Sunday did not define the role of the British Army in Ireland.

"He is wrong. It does. In my view, the British knew they were killing unarmed civilians. The Peace Process continues, slowly but surely bringing about change, but the Peace Process will become organic only when those who lost loved ones in the conflict have closure."

Bishop of Down and Connor Noel Treanor has also publicly supported the campaign for an inquiry into the killings, and presented relatives with a previously undisclosed report, compiled by the church at the time.

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