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Fury at Tories as Dail debates Ballymurphy Massacre

By Lesley-Anne McKeown

Published 13/07/2015

Mourners at the funeral of one of the Ballymurphy victims
Mourners at the funeral of one of the Ballymurphy victims
Pacemaker Press 17/6/10 Fr Hugh Mullan who is one of the 11 people died in the Ballymurphy Massacre in 1971 in West Belfast
People of Ballymurphy estate pay their respects to Father Hugh Mullan, who was shot dead in 1971
Pacemaker Press 17/6/10 Paddy McCarthy who is one of the 11 people died in the Ballymurphy Massacre in 1971 in West Belfast
Pacemaker Press 17/6/10 John McKerr who is one of the 11 people died in the Ballymurphy Massacre in 1971 in West Belfast
Ballymurphy massacre relatives protest
Pacemaker Press 17/6/10 Danny Teggart who is one of the 11 people died in the Ballymurphy Massacre in 1971 in West Belfast
Joseph Murphy was one of 10 people shot dead by British soldiers in West Belfast in 1971
John Teggart's father was shot dead in 1971 during an incident referred to as the Ballymurphy Massacre
Enda Kenny at the memorial to victims of Ballymurphy massacre yesterday

Campaigners have accused the Government of being more interested in bringing back fox hunting than finding justice for bereaved families in Belfast.

The claim was made as politicians in the Republic prepare to debate a motion backing calls for a public inquiry into killings known as the Ballymurphy Massacre.

John Teggart, whose father Danny was among 10 people shot dead during the 1971 attack, said: "We would like the support of all political parties to help us put pressure on the British Government to give us an independent inquiry based on the recent Hillsborough Inquiry so that we can unearth the terrible injustices of the events in 1971.

"The British Government made up of millionaires is more interested in bringing back fox hunting than they are at bringing justice and truth to our families."

Ten people, including a priest and a mother of eight, were killed during three days of gunfire involving members of the Parachute Regiment in August 1971. Another man died of a heart attack following an alleged violent confrontation with the troops in the west Belfast estate.

A fresh inquest is being held into the 10 deaths caused by gunfire but relatives are unhappy at the length of time state organisations are taking to disclose files to the coroner's court.

They are expected to travel to Dublin on Wednesday to hear TDs debate an all-party motion supporting their quest to establish the truth.

It follows a meeting with Taoiseach Enda Kenny in Belfast earlier this year.

Mr Teggart added: "The Taoiseach met with the Ballymurphy Massacre families on March 27 this year at the spots where our loved ones were murdered.

"The Taoiseach fully endorsed our campaign for truth and justice and he has been true to his word as he has tabled the all-party motion.

"I welcome this move by the Irish Government and hope that the motion will be supported by all political parties in the Dail."

Briege Voyle, whose mother Joan was also killed by troops, said she hoped the debate would send a "strong message" to the Tories.

She said: "We are still living with the consequences of what the British Army did in 1971 when they murdered 11 unarmed and innocent people."

She added: "The British Government has an obligation to enable a full investigation to take place so that the full story of what happened to our loved ones can be told."

Background

In 2010, Prime Minister David Cameron apologised for the actions of paratroopers on Bloody Sunday after a long-running public inquiry by Lord Saville found the shootings had been unjustified. But last year, the Government rejected calls for a probe on a smaller scale into the events in Ballymurphy, insisting it was not in the public interest.

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