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Ballymurphy relatives of 11 killed by Paras in new inquests call

Attorney General John Larkin has been asked to establish new inquests into the deaths of 11 people in west Belfast in August 1971.

The bereaved families are calling for the fresh inquests into the deaths of those shot by Parachute Regiment soldiers in west Belfast's Ballymurphy area in light of new evidence and an independent international investigation. Original inquests recorded open verdicts.

The deaths, which have become known as the Ballymurphy Massacre, occurred during a three-day security operation.

West Belfast MP Gerry Adams said there were “grave concerns” about the original inquests.

He said the “substantive submission” to Mr Larkin would include Catholic Church archive documents, inquest verdicts, autopsy reports, inquest depositions and statements by Royal Military Police personnel, contemporary RUC reports and a preliminary report into the deaths.

Mr Adams said: “Families have been campaigning for an independent international investigation. They have now prepared this submission to the Attorney General, probably one of the first cases of such a kind and clearly could not have happened until there was a local Attorney General.” The material will be presented to Mr Larkin with a request under Section 14 of the Coroners Act 1959, which allows the Attorney General to order a fresh inquest.

Briege Boyd, daughter of victim Joan Connolly, said some of the information available at the time was “not considered or investigated” and that the dossier was a step to “acquiring an independent international investigation into the murder of our loved ones”.

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Patsy Mullan, brother of Fr Hugh Mullan, said though time had passed since his brother’s death, the hurt hadn’t left and the truth must be made public.

“What I am interested in the truth,” he said. “We want the truth to be told to all the world, that these people were innocent.”

Campaigners said new eyewitness statements have been taken and will also be presented to Mr Larkin in the next few weeks.

The families’ solicitor, Paddy Murray, said: “The families believe that the original inquest was flawed. We believe there was information made available at the time which was never brought before the original inquest.”

Mr Adams added this matter would now be left to the, “good office of the Attorney General to come up with the right decision”.

“We don’t presume anything,” he said. “We simply give him the submission and request that he do what he is authorised to do, if he thinks there is new evidence.”

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