Belfast Telegraph

Relatives of Troubles dead announce new Time for Truth rally

Organiser: Ciaran MacAirt
Organiser: Ciaran MacAirt

By Rebecca Black

A group of families who lost loved ones during the troubles have urged solidarity as they prepare for a 'march for truth'.

The second Time for Truth parade will take place in Belfast next month.

An estimated 7,000 people attended last year's event, which was called to demand truth about the past.

Since then a petition drafted in support of the campaign has been signed by more than 15,000 people.

Organiser Ciaran MacAirt said the march was a response to what he termed the Government's "continued failure to deal with the legacy of the past".

The three demands of the Time for Truth campaign are the implementation of legacy mechanisms agreed at Stormont House in 2014, funding to clear a backlog of legacy inquests, and funding for the Police Ombudsman's Office to complete outstanding legacy investigations.

Mr MacAirt and a number of families came together at the Culturlann centre on the Falls Road in west Belfast yesterday to urge solidarity, issuing a plea to "walk with us" on Sunday, June 9.

He said families had been waiting for more than 50 years to find out the truth about what had happened to loved ones.

Mr MacAirt is the grandson of Kathleen Irvine, one of 15 people killed in the UVF's bombing of McGurk's bar in 1971.

He told the march launch that younger generations would carry on the quest.

"We believe the British Government's strategy is stark - it's deny, delay and death," he said.

"They are hoping that family members such as ourselves will go to our graves and our children and grandchildren will not have the same fire in their belly for dealing with this, and that the campaigns will go away.

"We are not going to stand for it. This strategy has done nothing other than re-traumatise victims and survivors and has introduced the unfinished business of legacy to future generations, who are intent on obtaining truth and justice, just as we are."

Among attendees at the announcement of the march was Harry Gargan, whose sister Margaret died aged 13 after she was hit by a soldier's bullet in west Belfast in 1972.

"My family want another inquest as I can still remember, even though I was only 12, coming back from the inquest where someone from the Ministry of Defence read a statement that they had identified a 13-year-old girl as an 18-year-old gunman," Mr Gargan said.

"It was like she died again. (We) could never get over that."

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