Belfast Telegraph

Rally calls for inquiry into Ballymurphy killings by soldiers

Several hundred people have marched to demand an inquiry into the shooting dead by soldiers of 11 people in west Belfast in 1971.

Another man died later of his injuries.

The protest was organised by relatives of those shot by paratroopers in Ballymurphy 1971.

They are seeking a Bloody Sunday-style probe into the killings, which preceded the shootings in Londonderry.

A priest and a mother-of-eight were among those killed.

The Army has always maintained troops opened fire in response to shots from republican gunmen.

At the time it was claimed that some of the dead were armed.

The rally's organiser John Teggart, whose father was one of those who died in the shootings, which occurred over several days in August 1971, said that was not the case.

“We are dedicated to clear my daddy's name. He was branded a gunman — he is totally innocent,” he said.

“He was shot 14 times in the back and leg and thigh, so that's what needs dealt with and the Government needs to start talking to Ballymurphy families.” The victims were killed by paratroopers during Operation Demetrius, which was the start of internment.

The Ballymuphy relatives have been supported in their quest for an inquiry by Bloody Sunday families.

John Kelly, whose brother Michael was shot dead on Bloody Sunday, organised a bus for supporters to travel from Derry to the rally.

He said: “Just as they wholeheartedly supported us during our quest for truth and justice, it is imperative that the people of Derry now show support for the families in Ballymurphy, who are still waging their own struggle for truth and justice.”

In June relatives of those killed said Secretary of State Owen Paterson told them an inquiry was “not in the public interest”.

The Historical Enquiries Team is carrying out a probe and Attorney General John Larkin has |ordered the inquest to be |reopened.

Nigel Mumford, one of the paras who was an Army medic, said victims had been beaten and evidence planted.

Belfast Telegraph

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