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Ballymurphy shootings: Secretary of State Theresa Villiers rejects calls for independent review into killings

Ballymurphy shootings 1971 Close

Riots : Belfast. January 1971.  Soldiers frisking passengers and driver of a car on the Springfield Road, near Ballymurphy.  (14/01/1971)

Riots : Belfast. January 1971. Soldiers frisking passengers and driver of a car on the Springfield Road, near Ballymurphy. (14/01/1971)

Riots: Belfast. August 1970.  Soldiers shelter behind their riot shields during rioting at Ballymurphy.  (04/08/70)

Riots: Belfast. August 1970. Soldiers shelter behind their riot shields during rioting at Ballymurphy. (04/08/70)

Riots : Belfast. August 1970.  The common sight in the Roman Catholic estate at Ballymurphy, Belfast, as young rioters attack the army with missiles during the troubles.  (04/08/70)

Riots : Belfast. August 1970. The common sight in the Roman Catholic estate at Ballymurphy, Belfast, as young rioters attack the army with missiles during the troubles. (04/08/70)

Ballymurphy: troops stand by at the junction of Springfield and Whiterock Roads  (20/09/1970)

Ballymurphy: troops stand by at the junction of Springfield and Whiterock Roads (20/09/1970)

Riots : Belfast. January 1971.  Catholic housing estate, Ballymurphy.  (15/01/1971)

Riots : Belfast. January 1971. Catholic housing estate, Ballymurphy. (15/01/1971)

Mourners file past the coffin of Father Hugh Mullan, one of the 10 people killed (PA Archive)

Mourners file past the coffin of Father Hugh Mullan, one of the 10 people killed (PA Archive)

PA Archive/PA Images

Father Hugh Mullan. Shot at Moyard Park.  9/8/1971  THE FUNERAL HEARSE CARRYING THE BODY OF FATHER HUGH MULLAN TRAVELS ALONG THE ROAD IN BALLYMURPHY ESTATE.  12/8/1971

Father Hugh Mullan. Shot at Moyard Park. 9/8/1971 THE FUNERAL HEARSE CARRYING THE BODY OF FATHER HUGH MULLAN TRAVELS ALONG THE ROAD IN BALLYMURPHY ESTATE. 12/8/1971

Joseph Murphy was one of 10 people shot dead by British soldiers in West Belfast in 1971

Joseph Murphy was one of 10 people shot dead by British soldiers in West Belfast in 1971

Pacemaker Press 17/6/10 John McKerr  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

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

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

Pacemaker Press 17/6/10 Joseph Corr  who is one  of the 11 people died in the Ballymurphy Massacre in 1971 in West Belfast

Pacemaker Press 17/6/10 Joseph Corr who is one of the 11 people died in the Ballymurphy Massacre in 1971 in West Belfast

Pacemaker Press 17/6/10 Danny Teggart  who is one  of the 11 people died in the Ballymurphy Massacre in 1971 in West Belfast

Pacemaker Press 17/6/10 Danny Teggart who is one of the 11 people died in the Ballymurphy Massacre in 1971 in West Belfast

Pacemaker Press 17/6/10  Danny Teggart who is one  of the 11 people died in the Ballymurphy Massacre in 1971 in West Belfast

Pacemaker Press 17/6/10 Danny Teggart who is one of the 11 people died in the Ballymurphy Massacre in 1971 in West Belfast

Pacemaker Press 17/6/10 Danny Teggart  who is one  of the 11 people died in the Ballymurphy Massacre in 1971 in West Belfast

Pacemaker Press 17/6/10 Danny Teggart who is one of the 11 people died in the Ballymurphy Massacre in 1971 in West Belfast

©Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland - 25th January 2012 Mandatory Credit - Photo-Jonathan Porter/Presseye.  Ballymurphy massacre relatives call for a meeting with the Prime Minister, David Cameron.  10 people were shot dead by soldiers in west Belfast in August 1971.  The victims, which included a priest and a mother-of-eight, were killed over the course of three days in August 1971 by members of the Parachute Regiment during Operation Demetrius, when people suspected of paramilitary activity were interned.  Relatives Rita Bonner, John Teggart and Briege Voyle pictured at the top of the Whiterock Road in west Belfast beside a mural depicting the shootings.

©Press Eye Ltd Northern Ireland - 25th January 2012 Mandatory Credit - Photo-Jonathan Porter/Presseye. Ballymurphy massacre relatives call for a meeting with the Prime Minister, David Cameron. 10 people were shot dead by soldiers in west Belfast in August 1971. The victims, which included a priest and a mother-of-eight, were killed over the course of three days in August 1971 by members of the Parachute Regiment during Operation Demetrius, when people suspected of paramilitary activity were interned. Relatives Rita Bonner, John Teggart and Briege Voyle pictured at the top of the Whiterock Road in west Belfast beside a mural depicting the shootings.

Riots : Belfast. January 1971. Soldiers frisking passengers and driver of a car on the Springfield Road, near Ballymurphy. (14/01/1971)

Secretary of State Theresa Villiers has rejected calls for an independent review panel to review the 1971 Ballymurphy shootings.

The refusal was made on the grounds a new probe would not be in the public interest.

In a statement, the Ballymurphy families said they were "outraged" at the decision.

The Army's Parachute Regiment was involved in the killings of 11 people, over a three-day period in August 1971.

Ten people died as result of gunfire injuries, among them a Catholic priest and mother of eight, sustained over three days of shooting in August 1971 – an episode relatives refer to as the Ballymurphy massacre – while another man died of a heart attack following an alleged violent confrontation with soldiers.

Theresa Villiers said she did "do not believe that such a review would provide answers which are not already in the public domain or covered by existing legal processes".

"In reaching this decision, I have sought to balance the strong and clear views of the families with the need to ensure that existing legal mechanisms can continue to carry out their functions without being impeded by an additional process. That includes the ongoing Coroner’s inquests."

A new inquest into those deaths caused by gunfire was ordered by Northern Ireland's Attorney General John Larkin in 2011.

The Northern Ireland Office said any additional review would "cut across this ongoing legal process".

The Ballymurphy families have long campaigned for a review panel to be set up by the Government.

They want the probe modelled on the one that re-examined the Hillsborough football stadium disaster.

Theresa Villiers said she was "willing to meet with the Ballymurphy families and their representatives again, if they wish".

At a press conference in west Belfast, Briege Foyle, whose mother Joan Connolly died, ripped up the letter Ms Villiers had sent outlining the decision.

John Teggart, whose father Daniel was one of those killed, said the Government had treated them in a "disrespectful and shameful manner".

"The families have a message for David Cameron," he said.

"When will you stop harbouring the murderers in the ranks of the British army?"

Belfast Telegraph