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Stomont rejects call for probe into 1971 Ballymurphy killings

Published 09/11/2015

Joan Connolly, one of the 11 victims of the Ballymurphy killings (PA)
Joan Connolly, one of the 11 victims of the Ballymurphy killings (PA)

A call for a Hillsborough-style investigation into the Ballymurphy shootings by soldiers in Belfast has been rejected by the Stormont Assembly.

Public representatives voted by 48-44 against Sinn Fein's motion.

It requested Northern Ireland Secretary Theresa Villiers join the Irish Government in supporting a probe into the killings in 1971 when 10 people were shot dead.

Ulster Unionist leader Mike Nesbitt said he opposed the motion with regret, bearing in mind what happened to the Ballymurphy families.

"For us it is time to stop the piecemeal approach."

The former victim's commissioner said truth and justice was just one of the needs of victims and survivors. He said a cknowledgement and reconciliation is something that must challenge everybody.

He referred to the Stormont House talks on dealing with decades of violence.

"I hope we can find a better and fairer way forward over the next number of days."

Ten people, including a Catholic 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.

Sinn Fein MLA Raymond McCartney said the Ballymurphy families had been failed by the state.

"There is absolutely no doubt that those families seeking the truth won't be put off and in my opinion they should be supported.

"The Ballymurphy families have asked for nothing more and deserve nothing less than the truth."

A total of 96 Liverpool supporters died in the Hillsborough Football Stadium tragedy.

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