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Malachi O'Doherty: Could Gerry Adams hold the answer to UVF claims about the Ballymurphy Massacre?

Loyalist boasts that they had snipers operating in west Belfast during an Army operation in August 1971 in which 11 people were killed shouldn't be dismissed too lightly... for one thing, the IRA believed it, writes Malachi O'Doherty

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Victims: the 11 people who died in the Ballymurphy Massacre in west Belfast (from left, top row) Joseph Corr, Danny Taggart, Eddie Doherty, Father Hugh Mullen and Frank Quinn and ,
(from left, second row) Paddy McCarthy, John McKerr, Noel Philips, John Laverty and Joseph Murphy

Victims: the 11 people who died in the Ballymurphy Massacre in west Belfast (from left, top row) Joseph Corr, Danny Taggart, Eddie Doherty, Father Hugh Mullen and Frank Quinn and , (from left, second row) Paddy McCarthy, John McKerr, Noel Philips, John Laverty and Joseph Murphy

PA

Gerry Adams in 1971

Gerry Adams in 1971

Photopress Belfast

Joan Connolly

Joan Connolly

PA

Victims: the 11 people who died in the Ballymurphy Massacre in west Belfast (from left, top row) Joseph Corr, Danny Taggart, Eddie Doherty, Father Hugh Mullen and Frank Quinn and , (from left, second row) Paddy McCarthy, John McKerr, Noel Philips, John Laverty and Joseph Murphy

The week in which the Army launched the first internment raids saw massive violence in Belfast and a huge amount of gunfire in and around Ballymurphy. Several civilians were killed by the Army and a cluster of killings in Ballymurphy over two days is now known as the Ballymurphy Massacre.

Relatives of the dead and their supporters are hoping that an inquest later this year will point the finger at soldiers of the Parachute Regiment, who were stationed in the area, mostly at the Henry Taggart Memorial Hall.

This is a highly credible account of civilian deaths. The Paras were a brutal and ignorant bunch of soldiers, who brought fear and grief to the streets. That is my recollection of them.

But they are now officially recorded as the murderers of civil rights protesters on Bloody Sunday, five months after the Ballymurphy killings, so one needn't be too tender with their reputation.

And it is perfectly understandable that families of the dead would hold a settled conviction that the Paras killed their loved ones. And they probably did.

Some of them see only as mischief-making the intervention of the UVF this week, claiming that they had a sniper in the area, who was responsible for some of the killings. And that, too, may be a reasonable inference.

But all this is to be considered by an inquest. And the job of an inquest is to find the truth, not to affirm the perspectives of others.

We saw, for instance, in the Bloody Sunday inquiry that the long-held view that no shots had been fired at the Army was simply not true. One Official IRA gunman had opened fire and then been dissuaded from continuing. In Ballymurphy, we know, the Army and the Provisional IRA exchanged fire for days.

The inquest will have to consider if all the deaths of civilians are attributable to one side. And it is not as if the IRA never killed civilians in crossfire; it did that several times.

Gerry Kelly said on The Nolan Show yesterday that we can be sure that the IRA did not kill Catholics. But we can be sure of no such thing. One thinks of Martha Crawford, in Rosnareen Avenue, shot dead by the Provisional IRA in an ambush on the Army in 1972. Or the eight people killed by an IRA bomb in Short Strand that same year.

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Gerry Adams pictured in front of election posters for Westminster elections.  Pacemaker Press Intl.  27/5/83.

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Gerry Adams pictured in front of election posters for Westminster elections. Pacemaker Press Intl. 27/5/83. 497/83/BW

Saddle up - a  young gunslinger Gerry Adams

Saddle up - a young gunslinger Gerry Adams

PACEMAKER BFST 11-06-2001:Sinn Fein's Gerry Adams can put his feet up and relax after a gruelling few weeks on the campaign trail after a sucessful Westminster Election and local  council election. He is pictured at the local election count at Belfast City Hall.

PACEMAKER BFST 11-06-2001:Sinn Fein's Gerry Adams can put his feet up and relax after a gruelling few weeks on the campaign trail after a sucessful Westminster Election and local council election. He is pictured at the local election count at Belfast City Hall.

PACEMAKER BFST 26-03-98; Gerry Adams pictured with his wife Collette at Belfast's City Hall.

PACEMAKER BFST 26-03-98; Gerry Adams pictured with his wife Collette at Belfast's City Hall.

PACEMAKER BELFAST  23/03/2017
The Funeral of former Sinn Fein leader and deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness in the Bogside in Derry this afternoon.
Mr McGuinness died earlier this week after a short illness. Pictured is Gerry Adams. Photo Mark Marlow/Pacemaker Press

PACEMAKER BELFAST 23/03/2017 The Funeral of former Sinn Fein leader and deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness in the Bogside in Derry this afternoon. Mr McGuinness died earlier this week after a short illness. Pictured is Gerry Adams. Photo Mark Marlow/Pacemaker Press

PACEMAKER BELFAST 08/04/98 Sinn Fein leaders Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness talk to press and media men outside Castle Buildings this morning.
PICTURE BY WILLIAM CHERRY/PACEMAKER PRESS

PACEMAKER BELFAST 08/04/98 Sinn Fein leaders Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness talk to press and media men outside Castle Buildings this morning. PICTURE BY WILLIAM CHERRY/PACEMAKER PRESS

PACEMAKER BELFAST  23/03/2017
Gerry Adams during The Funeral of former Sinn Fein leader and deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness in the Bogside in Derry this afternoon.
Mr McGuinness dies earlier this week after a short illness.
At his funeral today
Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press

PACEMAKER BELFAST 23/03/2017 Gerry Adams during The Funeral of former Sinn Fein leader and deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness in the Bogside in Derry this afternoon. Mr McGuinness dies earlier this week after a short illness. At his funeral today Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press

Pacemaker Belfast-Archive
Gerry Adams and Martin Mcguinness
Internment Rally in Falls Road
12-8-89

Pacemaker Belfast-Archive Gerry Adams and Martin Mcguinness Internment Rally in Falls Road 12-8-89

PACEMAKER BELFAST   On the first day of the ulster Peace Talks martin took this picture of Gerry Adams and martin McGuinness locked out of the stormont talks.

PHOTO MARTIN WRIGHT

PACEMAKER BELFAST On the first day of the ulster Peace Talks martin took this picture of Gerry Adams and martin McGuinness locked out of the stormont talks. PHOTO MARTIN WRIGHT

Gerry Adams, Sinn Fein president on the platform.  Pacemaker Press Intl. 1&2/11/86

Gerry Adams, Sinn Fein president on the platform. Pacemaker Press Intl. 1&2/11/86

PACEMAKER BELFAST

GERRY ADAMS CARRIES THE COFFIN OF IRA SHANKILL BOMBER THOMAS BEGLEY AT HIS FUNERAL 
27/10/1993

PACEMAKER BELFAST GERRY ADAMS CARRIES THE COFFIN OF IRA SHANKILL BOMBER THOMAS BEGLEY AT HIS FUNERAL 27/10/1993

PACEMAKER BELFAST 22/1/99 US congressman Peter King pictured with Gerry Adams outside Sinn Fein HQ on the Falls Road.

PACEMAKER BELFAST 22/1/99 US congressman Peter King pictured with Gerry Adams outside Sinn Fein HQ on the Falls Road.

PACEMAKER BELFAST 9/12/99 Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams pictured with the Ford Mondeo and Bugging device which he claims were planted by British Intellegance officers as he and Martin McGuniiess were having meeting with the IRA during the Mitchell review.

PACEMAKER BELFAST 9/12/99 Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams pictured with the Ford Mondeo and Bugging device which he claims were planted by British Intellegance officers as he and Martin McGuniiess were having meeting with the IRA during the Mitchell review.

PACEMAKER BFST 01-07-98;Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams signs in Martin McGuinness and Alex Maskey into the first day of the New Northern Ireland Assembly , Wednesday July 1, 1998, inside Castle Buildings, Stormont, Belfast, Northern Ireland ,on the first day of the new Northern Ireland Assembly.

PACEMAKER BFST 01-07-98;Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams signs in Martin McGuinness and Alex Maskey into the first day of the New Northern Ireland Assembly , Wednesday July 1, 1998, inside Castle Buildings, Stormont, Belfast, Northern Ireland ,on the first day of the new Northern Ireland Assembly.

AP

PACEMAKER BFST 16-06-2000: Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams at the funeral of close friend and leading republican Terrance 'Cleeky" Clarke who died of cancer. Adams is pictured comforting Clarke's daughter Marie behind the cortege.

PACEMAKER BFST 16-06-2000: Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams at the funeral of close friend and leading republican Terrance 'Cleeky" Clarke who died of cancer. Adams is pictured comforting Clarke's daughter Marie behind the cortege.

PACEMAKER BELFAST  15/2/2000:  President Mary McAleese and her husband, Martin share a joke with Gerry Adams, the M.P. for West Belfast,  when she visited the Glor na Ghale Irish language centre on the Fall's Road, Belfast today.
PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON

PACEMAKER BELFAST 15/2/2000: President Mary McAleese and her husband, Martin share a joke with Gerry Adams, the M.P. for West Belfast, when she visited the Glor na Ghale Irish language centre on the Fall's Road, Belfast today. PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON

PACEMAKER BELFAST  08/09/2015:  Theresa Villiers has told MPs that despite a request from the DUP, the government does not think the time is right to suspend Northern Ireland's devolved institutions. Ms Villiers will be joined by Irish Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan at Stormont House for talks with the Northern Ireland political party. President of Sinn Féin Gerry Adams  arriving for the talks.
Picture By: Arthur Allison.

PACEMAKER BELFAST 08/09/2015: Theresa Villiers has told MPs that despite a request from the DUP, the government does not think the time is right to suspend Northern Ireland's devolved institutions. Ms Villiers will be joined by Irish Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan at Stormont House for talks with the Northern Ireland political party. President of Sinn Féin Gerry Adams arriving for the talks. Picture By: Arthur Allison.

4/5/2014 PACEMAKER PRESS INTL. Gerry Adams speaking to the media on being released this evening from Antrim police station  after being questioned in relation to the murder of Jean McConville. Picture Charles McQuillan/Pacemaker

4/5/2014 PACEMAKER PRESS INTL. Gerry Adams speaking to the media on being released this evening from Antrim police station after being questioned in relation to the murder of Jean McConville. Picture Charles McQuillan/Pacemaker

PACEMAKER BELFAST   archive  2/12/1993     1148/93
Sinn Fein leaders Gerry Adams & Martin McGuinness at press conference at Conway Mill where they spoke of secret negotiations with the British Government on a peace process.

PACEMAKER BELFAST archive 2/12/1993 1148/93 Sinn Fein leaders Gerry Adams & Martin McGuinness at press conference at Conway Mill where they spoke of secret negotiations with the British Government on a peace process.

PACEMAKER BELFAST 13/09/2015
Chairperson of Sinn Féins Six County Cúige, Bobby Storey, speaks to the media today, Sunday 13th September, at 11am in the Roddy McCorley Social Club, Glen Road, Andersonstown, Belfast, County Antrim BT11 8BU, Belfast. He was be joined by Gerry Adams TD, Martin McGuinness MLA. Mary Lou McDonald TD, and Jennifer McCann MLA.Pictured is Gerry Adams. Photo Mark Marlow/Pacemaker Press

PACEMAKER BELFAST 13/09/2015 Chairperson of Sinn Féins Six County Cúige, Bobby Storey, speaks to the media today, Sunday 13th September, at 11am in the Roddy McCorley Social Club, Glen Road, Andersonstown, Belfast, County Antrim BT11 8BU, Belfast. He was be joined by Gerry Adams TD, Martin McGuinness MLA. Mary Lou McDonald TD, and Jennifer McCann MLA.Pictured is Gerry Adams. Photo Mark Marlow/Pacemaker Press

PACEMAKER BELFAST   04/05/2014
Sinn Fein Leader Gerry Adams speaks at a press conference at the Balmoral Hotel in West Belfast this evening. Adams was released this evening after 4 days of questioning by the PSNI in relation to the murder of Jean McConville in 1972.  Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press

PACEMAKER BELFAST 04/05/2014 Sinn Fein Leader Gerry Adams speaks at a press conference at the Balmoral Hotel in West Belfast this evening. Adams was released this evening after 4 days of questioning by the PSNI in relation to the murder of Jean McConville in 1972. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press

Pacemaker Press 23/1/2017 
Martin McGuinness and Gerry Adams  as Michelle O'Neill is announced as Sinn Fein's e new leader in the north.
Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

Pacemaker Press 23/1/2017 Martin McGuinness and Gerry Adams as Michelle O'Neill is announced as Sinn Fein's e new leader in the north. Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

PACEMAKER BELFAST   15/09/2014
Gerry Adams signing Ian Paisley Book of condolences
Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams TD signing the book of condolences for the late Dr Ian Paisley in Belfast City Hall.
Photo Aidan O'Reilly/Pacemaker Press

PACEMAKER BELFAST 15/09/2014 Gerry Adams signing Ian Paisley Book of condolences Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams TD signing the book of condolences for the late Dr Ian Paisley in Belfast City Hall. Photo Aidan O'Reilly/Pacemaker Press

Pacemaker Bfst Ltd  archive
Gerry Adams File pic of him at an IRA Funeral  in Derry .

Pacemaker Bfst Ltd archive Gerry Adams File pic of him at an IRA Funeral in Derry .

PACEMAKER BELFAST                    AUGUST 1988         PF

GERRY ADAMS WITH ARTIST IN WEST BELFAST JUDGING WALL MURALS, ADAMS PICTURED WITH STICKER SAYING I LOVE WEST BELFAST. ALSO SURROUNDED WITH KIDS.

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PACEMAKER BELFAST AUGUST 1988 PF GERRY ADAMS WITH ARTIST IN WEST BELFAST JUDGING WALL MURALS, ADAMS PICTURED WITH STICKER SAYING I LOVE WEST BELFAST. ALSO SURROUNDED WITH KIDS. 674/88/BW

10/2/2010 PACEMAKER PRESS INTL BELFAST. SINN FEIN PRESIDENT GERRY ADAMS PICTURED AT THE SINN FEIN OFFICES, STORMONT. PICTURE CHARLES MCQUILLAN/PACEMAKER.

10/2/2010 PACEMAKER PRESS INTL BELFAST. SINN FEIN PRESIDENT GERRY ADAMS PICTURED AT THE SINN FEIN OFFICES, STORMONT. PICTURE CHARLES MCQUILLAN/PACEMAKER.

29/1/2010. PACEMAKER BELFAST. GERRY ADAMS TALKS TO THE MEDIAOUTSIDE HILLSBOROUGH CASTLE AS TALKS CONTINUED BETWEEN THE DUP AND SINN FEIN WITH STILL NO AGREEMENT IN SIGHT. PICTURE CHARLES MCQUILLAN/PACEMAKER.

29/1/2010. PACEMAKER BELFAST. GERRY ADAMS TALKS TO THE MEDIAOUTSIDE HILLSBOROUGH CASTLE AS TALKS CONTINUED BETWEEN THE DUP AND SINN FEIN WITH STILL NO AGREEMENT IN SIGHT. PICTURE CHARLES MCQUILLAN/PACEMAKER.

PACEMAKER BELFAST 11/5/09
Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams takes a plunge at the partys photocall in the Water Works in North Belfast. As the partys European Election candidate Barbrie de Bruin (centre) posed for the cameras with party colleagues, Mr Adams was saved by his deputy Martin McGuinness, doing his David Hasselhoff impersonation.
Photo Arthur Allison/Pacemaker Press

PACEMAKER BELFAST 11/5/09 Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams takes a plunge at the partys photocall in the Water Works in North Belfast. As the partys European Election candidate Barbrie de Bruin (centre) posed for the cameras with party colleagues, Mr Adams was saved by his deputy Martin McGuinness, doing his David Hasselhoff impersonation. Photo Arthur Allison/Pacemaker Press

12 SEPTEMBER 1992: GERRY ADAMS FAMILY

12 SEPTEMBER 1992: GERRY ADAMS FAMILY

10/2/2010 PACEMAKER PRESS INTL BELFAST. SINN FEIN PRESIDENT GERRY ADAMS PICTURED AT THE SINN FEIN OFFICES, STORMONT. PICTURE CHARLES MCQUILLAN/PACEMAKER.

10/2/2010 PACEMAKER PRESS INTL BELFAST. SINN FEIN PRESIDENT GERRY ADAMS PICTURED AT THE SINN FEIN OFFICES, STORMONT. PICTURE CHARLES MCQUILLAN/PACEMAKER.

Funeral of IRA man Henry Hogan at Dunloy, Co. Antrim. Pictures of Cortege etc. Police argued with the mourners and minor scuffles broke out. Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams and Owen Carron took control and organised the mourners. Sinn Fein man Martin McGuiness telling police inspector to get his men out of the cemetary. Also picture of Sinn Fein man Pearce McMahon (behind Gerry Adams, the man with glasses on Gerry's left) with microphones talking to the mourners.  Pacemaker Press Intl.  24/2/84

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Funeral of IRA man Henry Hogan at Dunloy, Co. Antrim. Pictures of Cortege etc. Police argued with the mourners and minor scuffles broke out. Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams and Owen Carron took control and organised the mourners. Sinn Fein man Martin McGuiness telling police inspector to get his men out of the cemetary. Also picture of Sinn Fein man Pearce McMahon (behind Gerry Adams, the man with glasses on Gerry's left) with microphones talking to the mourners. Pacemaker Press Intl. 24/2/84 153/84/BW

10/2/2010 PACEMAKER PRESS INTL BELFAST. SINN FEIN PRESIDENT GERRY ADAMS PICTURED AT THE SINN FEIN OFFICES, STORMONT. PICTURE CHARLES MCQUILLAN/PACEMAKER.

10/2/2010 PACEMAKER PRESS INTL BELFAST. SINN FEIN PRESIDENT GERRY ADAMS PICTURED AT THE SINN FEIN OFFICES, STORMONT. PICTURE CHARLES MCQUILLAN/PACEMAKER.

PACEMAKER BELFAST   ARCHIVE     15th May 1981
Funeral of IRA hunger striker Frances Hughes in his home town of Bellaghy..\

Gerry Adams carrys the coffin flanked by masked IRA men

PACEMAKER BELFAST ARCHIVE 15th May 1981 Funeral of IRA hunger striker Frances Hughes in his home town of Bellaghy..\ Gerry Adams carrys the coffin flanked by masked IRA men

PACEMAKER BELFAST  3/11/2011
Liam Adams pictured in the back of a PSNI prison van as he arrives at Belfast Laganside court this morning. Mr Adams, brother of Sinn Fein  leader Gerry Adams is arrested on 18 warrants, including charges of rape, gross indecency and indecent assault.
Photo:Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press

PACEMAKER BELFAST 3/11/2011 Liam Adams pictured in the back of a PSNI prison van as he arrives at Belfast Laganside court this morning. Mr Adams, brother of Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams is arrested on 18 warrants, including charges of rape, gross indecency and indecent assault. Photo:Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press

PACEMAKER BELFAST   04/05/2014
Sinn Fein Leader Gerry Adams speaks at a press conference at the Balmoral Hotel in West Belfast this evening. Adams was released this evening after 4 days of questioning by the PSNI in relation to the murder of Jean McConville in 1972.  Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press

PACEMAKER BELFAST 04/05/2014 Sinn Fein Leader Gerry Adams speaks at a press conference at the Balmoral Hotel in West Belfast this evening. Adams was released this evening after 4 days of questioning by the PSNI in relation to the murder of Jean McConville in 1972. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press

Commemoration of Bloody Sunday march in Derry. Gerry Adams and Martin Maguiness are pictured.  Pacemaker Press Intl.  30/1/83.

Commemoration of Bloody Sunday march in Derry. Gerry Adams and Martin Maguiness are pictured. Pacemaker Press Intl. 30/1/83.

18 FEBRUARY 1992: FUNERALS OF KEVIN BARRY ODONNELL AND SEAN FARRELL  TWO OF THE FOUR IRA MEN KILLED BY THE ARMY IN COALISLAND AFTER AN ATTACK ON THE LOCAL POLICE STATION.

18 FEBRUARY 1992: FUNERALS OF KEVIN BARRY ODONNELL AND SEAN FARRELL TWO OF THE FOUR IRA MEN KILLED BY THE ARMY IN COALISLAND AFTER AN ATTACK ON THE LOCAL POLICE STATION.

PACEMAKER BELFAST      ARCHIVE 1984
Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams pictured canvassing with Martin McGuinness, Alex Maskey and Danny Morrison shortly after he was shot and injured in a UDA gun attack in Belfast city centre..
14/12/2006

PACEMAKER BELFAST ARCHIVE 1984 Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams pictured canvassing with Martin McGuinness, Alex Maskey and Danny Morrison shortly after he was shot and injured in a UDA gun attack in Belfast city centre.. 14/12/2006

Pacemaker press 20/2/08  Gerry Adams carries coffin of Former IRA hunger striker. Pic Colm Lenaghan / Pacemaker

Pacemaker press 20/2/08 Gerry Adams carries coffin of Former IRA hunger striker. Pic Colm Lenaghan / Pacemaker

PACEMAKER BELFAST    26/3/2007
Democratic Unionist Party leader The Reverend Ian Paisley (left) and Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams speak to the media during a press conference at the Stormont Assembly building in Belfast after power-sharing restored.

PACEMAKER BELFAST 26/3/2007 Democratic Unionist Party leader The Reverend Ian Paisley (left) and Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams speak to the media during a press conference at the Stormont Assembly building in Belfast after power-sharing restored.

PA

PACEMAKER BELFAST 11 AUGUST 1991. Gerry Adams at 20th anniversary of internment.

PACEMAKER BELFAST 11 AUGUST 1991. Gerry Adams at 20th anniversary of internment.

PACEMAKER BELFAST  9/12/2005
Sinn Fein leaders Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness pictured at Stormont with Denis Donaldson who was shot dead in County Donegal, months after being exposed as an agent who worked for the police and MI5 for 20 years.

PACEMAKER BELFAST 9/12/2005 Sinn Fein leaders Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness pictured at Stormont with Denis Donaldson who was shot dead in County Donegal, months after being exposed as an agent who worked for the police and MI5 for 20 years.

PACEMAKER PRESS INTL. BELFAST. Gerry Adams in Belfast Offices of Sinn Fein. 14/12/82.
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PACEMAKER PRESS INTL. BELFAST. Gerry Adams in Belfast Offices of Sinn Fein. 14/12/82. 1230/82/bw

PACEMAKER, BELFAST, 12/7/2005:  Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams gets pushed by riot police as protesters trying to stop Orange parade on the Crumlin road.
PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON

PACEMAKER, BELFAST, 12/7/2005: Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams gets pushed by riot police as protesters trying to stop Orange parade on the Crumlin road. PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON

PACEMAKER BELFAST. Gerry Adams at Connally House addressing the media about the IRA ceasefire. 31/8/94.
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PACEMAKER BELFAST. Gerry Adams at Connally House addressing the media about the IRA ceasefire. 31/8/94. 684/94/c

PACEMAKER BELFAST A Sinn Fein delegation arrive at Stormont for talks with the then Secretary of State Mo Mowlam (date 6/8/97)
Among the delegation are Martin Ferris (left) the now North Kerry TD, Martin McGuinness (2nd left) and Gerry Adams (right) the Sinn Fein leader. 
PHOTO  STEPHEN DAVISON/PACEMAKER

PACEMAKER BELFAST A Sinn Fein delegation arrive at Stormont for talks with the then Secretary of State Mo Mowlam (date 6/8/97) Among the delegation are Martin Ferris (left) the now North Kerry TD, Martin McGuinness (2nd left) and Gerry Adams (right) the Sinn Fein leader. PHOTO STEPHEN DAVISON/PACEMAKER

PACEMAKER PRESS BELFAST. Gerry Adams at Sinn Fein Press Conference. 
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PACEMAKER PRESS BELFAST. Gerry Adams at Sinn Fein Press Conference. 452/89/bwc

PACEMAKER PRESS INTL. BELFAST. Gerry Adams shooting in Belfast City Centre. Scene at Wellington Place where the three gunmen were captured one of which was injured. 14/3/84.
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PACEMAKER PRESS INTL. BELFAST. Gerry Adams shooting in Belfast City Centre. Scene at Wellington Place where the three gunmen were captured one of which was injured. 14/3/84. 213/84/bw

PACEMAKER PRESS INTL. BELFAST. Gerry Adams shooting in Belfast City Centre. Scene at Wellington Place where the three gunmen were captured one of which was injured. 14/3/84.
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PACEMAKER PRESS INTL. BELFAST. Gerry Adams shooting in Belfast City Centre. Scene at Wellington Place where the three gunmen were captured one of which was injured. 14/3/84. 213/84/bw

PACEMAKER PRESS INTL. BELFAST. Gerry Adams shooting in Belfast City Centre. Scene at Wellington Place where the three gunmen were captured one of which was injured. 14/3/84.
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PACEMAKER PRESS INTL. BELFAST. Gerry Adams shooting in Belfast City Centre. Scene at Wellington Place where the three gunmen were captured one of which was injured. 14/3/84. 213/84/bw

PACEMAKER PRESS INTL. BELFAST. Gerry Adams pictured in a confrontation with the police and the army on the Falls Rd after an arrest by the police. 13/2/84.
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PACEMAKER PRESS INTL. BELFAST. Gerry Adams pictured in a confrontation with the police and the army on the Falls Rd after an arrest by the police. 13/2/84. 111/84/bw

PACEMAKER PRESS INTL. BELFAST. Security forces guard the ward in which Gerry Adams was in at the RVH after being shot three times. 15/3/84.
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PACEMAKER PRESS INTL. BELFAST. Security forces guard the ward in which Gerry Adams was in at the RVH after being shot three times. 15/3/84. 214/84/bw

PACEMAKER PRESS INTL. BELFAST. Security forces guard the ward in which Gerry Adams was in at the RVH after being shot three times. 15/3/84.
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PACEMAKER PRESS INTL. BELFAST. Security forces guard the ward in which Gerry Adams was in at the RVH after being shot three times. 15/3/84. 214/84/bw

PACEMAKER PRESS INTL. BELFAST.  Gerry Adams Sinn Fein. 25/5/84.
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PACEMAKER PRESS INTL. BELFAST. Gerry Adams Sinn Fein. 25/5/84. 452/84/bw

PACEMAKER BELFAST    ARCHIVE
Alfredo "Freddie" Scappaticci (extreme left of picture/side faced) pictured at the 1988 funeral of IRA man Brendan Davison. Gerry Adams is pictured carrying the coffin.
Scappaticci was later named as 'Stakeknife' the Army's top informer/mole inside the IRA.


PICTURE COPYRIGHT:  PACEMAKER PRESS

PACEMAKER BELFAST ARCHIVE Alfredo "Freddie" Scappaticci (extreme left of picture/side faced) pictured at the 1988 funeral of IRA man Brendan Davison. Gerry Adams is pictured carrying the coffin. Scappaticci was later named as 'Stakeknife' the Army's top informer/mole inside the IRA. PICTURE COPYRIGHT: PACEMAKER PRESS

PACEMAKER PRESS INTL. BELFAST.  Danny Morrison pictured with Gerry Adams arm in sling in West Belfast canvassing for the EEC Elections. 13/6/84.
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PACEMAKER PRESS INTL. BELFAST. Danny Morrison pictured with Gerry Adams arm in sling in West Belfast canvassing for the EEC Elections. 13/6/84. 497/84/bw

PACEMAKER PRESS INTL. BELFAST. Gerry Adams shooting in Belfast City Centre. Scene at Wellington Place where the three gunmen were captured one of which was injured. 14/3/84.
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PACEMAKER PRESS INTL. BELFAST. Gerry Adams shooting in Belfast City Centre. Scene at Wellington Place where the three gunmen were captured one of which was injured. 14/3/84. 213/84/bw

PACEMAKER PRESS INTL. BELFAST. Gerry Adams shooting in Belfast City Centre. Scene at Wellington Place where the three gunmen were captured one of which was injured. 14/3/84.
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PACEMAKER PRESS INTL. BELFAST. Gerry Adams shooting in Belfast City Centre. Scene at Wellington Place where the three gunmen were captured one of which was injured. 14/3/84. 213/84/bw

Gerry Adams inside the Maze with Brendan Hughes.  Pacemaker Press Intl.  1/7/83.

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Gerry Adams inside the Maze with Brendan Hughes. Pacemaker Press Intl. 1/7/83. 589/83/BW

Gerry Adams canvassing in the Ballymurphy area of Belfast.  Pacemaker Press Intl.  29/5/83.

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Gerry Adams canvassing in the Ballymurphy area of Belfast. Pacemaker Press Intl. 29/5/83. 482/83/BW

Gerry Adams after winning West Belfast seat at Westminster. Pictured at Belfast City Hall. Pacemaker Press Intl.  10/6/83.

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Gerry Adams after winning West Belfast seat at Westminster. Pictured at Belfast City Hall. Pacemaker Press Intl. 10/6/83. 532/83/BW

Gerry Adams winning West Belfast seat,at count, Belfast City Hall.  Pacemaker Press Intl.  10/6/83.

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Gerry Adams winning West Belfast seat,at count, Belfast City Hall. Pacemaker Press Intl. 10/6/83. 531/83/BW

Gerry Adams (Sinn Fein vice President) after winning West Belfast seat at Westminster. Pictured on Falls Road after result.  Pictured waving from window in Sinn Fein Belfast office. Pacemaker Press Intl.  10/6/83.

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Gerry Adams (Sinn Fein vice President) after winning West Belfast seat at Westminster. Pictured on Falls Road after result. Pictured waving from window in Sinn Fein Belfast office. Pacemaker Press Intl. 10/6/83. 532/83/BW

Gerry Adams at Press conference in Lake Glen Hotel. Pacemaker Press Intl.  26/4/79.

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Gerry Adams at Press conference in Lake Glen Hotel. Pacemaker Press Intl. 26/4/79. 99/79/BW

Gerry Adams cleared of all IRA membership charges in 1978.  Pacemaker Press Intl.  6/9/78.

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Gerry Adams cleared of all IRA membership charges in 1978. Pacemaker Press Intl. 6/9/78. 347/78/BW

H-Block demonstration on Falls Road. From Dunville Arms  to Busy Bee. The crowd is being addressed by Sinn Fein spokesman Gerry Adams.  Pacemaker Press Intl.  30th Nov. 1980.

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H-Block demonstration on Falls Road. From Dunville Arms to Busy Bee. The crowd is being addressed by Sinn Fein spokesman Gerry Adams. Pacemaker Press Intl. 30th Nov. 1980. 1032/80/BW

PACEMAKER PRESS INTL. BELFAST. Sinn Fein Conference at Lake Glenn following end of Hunger Strike. It was announced that it was hoped that all blanket and dirty protests would also end as the Government brought in new regulations. (L-R) Danny Morrison, Gerry Adams, Kieran Nugent, Joe Maguire. 19/12/80.
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PACEMAKER PRESS INTL. BELFAST. Sinn Fein Conference at Lake Glenn following end of Hunger Strike. It was announced that it was hoped that all blanket and dirty protests would also end as the Government brought in new regulations. (L-R) Danny Morrison, Gerry Adams, Kieran Nugent, Joe Maguire. 19/12/80. 1088/80/bw

PACEMAKER BELFAST 13/12/200  Sinn Fein leaders Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness take part on the Mexican Wave in the Odyssey arena this afternoon before Bill Clinton's speach.
PHOTO STEVE WILSON/PACEMAKER

PACEMAKER BELFAST 13/12/200 Sinn Fein leaders Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness take part on the Mexican Wave in the Odyssey arena this afternoon before Bill Clinton's speach. PHOTO STEVE WILSON/PACEMAKER

PACEMAKER BELFAST   Sinn Fein leader gerry Adams (left) as a 15 yearold bar man in the York Bar in Belfast

PACEMAKER BELFAST Sinn Fein leader gerry Adams (left) as a 15 yearold bar man in the York Bar in Belfast

PACEMAKER BELFAST 
Bobby Sands  (right) pictured in Long Kesh with Gerry Adams (front) and Brendan Hughes (left).

PACEMAKER BELFAST Bobby Sands (right) pictured in Long Kesh with Gerry Adams (front) and Brendan Hughes (left).

PACEMAKER PRESS INTL. BELFAST. Sinn Fein Election Posters for Gerry Adams who ran for West Belfast seat for N.I Assembly. He Won. 2/11/82.
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PACEMAKER PRESS INTL. BELFAST. Sinn Fein Election Posters for Gerry Adams who ran for West Belfast seat for N.I Assembly. He Won. 2/11/82. 1102/82/bw

PACEMAKER BELFAST 13/12/2000   US President Bill Clinton is introduect to Sinn Fein MLA members by Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams during his visit to Stormont this morning.

PACEMAKER BELFAST 13/12/2000 US President Bill Clinton is introduect to Sinn Fein MLA members by Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams during his visit to Stormont this morning.

PACEMAKER BELFAST    SINN FEIN PRESIDENT GERRY ADAMS AS A MEMBER OF THE NATIONAL H/BLOCKS COMMITTEE

PACEMAKER BELFAST SINN FEIN PRESIDENT GERRY ADAMS AS A MEMBER OF THE NATIONAL H/BLOCKS COMMITTEE

PACEMAKER BELFAST    SINN FEIN PRESIDENT GERRY ADAMS (RIGHT OF PICTURE) AT BOBBY SANDS FUNERAL MAY 1981

PACEMAKER BELFAST SINN FEIN PRESIDENT GERRY ADAMS (RIGHT OF PICTURE) AT BOBBY SANDS FUNERAL MAY 1981

Gerry Adams (Sinn Fein vice President) after winning West Belfast seat at Westminster. Pictured on Falls Road after result.  Pictured on shoulders of supporters.  Pacemaker Press Intl.  10/6/83.

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Gerry Adams (Sinn Fein vice President) after winning West Belfast seat at Westminster. Pictured on Falls Road after result. Pictured on shoulders of supporters. Pacemaker Press Intl. 10/6/83. 532/83/BW

Sinn Fein Press Conference announcing Manifest. Included in picture are Gerry Adams, Danny Morrison and Owen Carron.  Pacemaker Press Intl.  May 1983.

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Sinn Fein Press Conference announcing Manifest. Included in picture are Gerry Adams, Danny Morrison and Owen Carron. Pacemaker Press Intl. May 1983. 537/83/BW

PACEMAKER PRESS INTL. BELFAST. Gerry Addams Sinn Fein pictured at the City Hall after his election win in West Belfast. 25/10/82.
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PACEMAKER PRESS INTL. BELFAST. Gerry Addams Sinn Fein pictured at the City Hall after his election win in West Belfast. 25/10/82. 1073/82/bw

PACEMAKER, BELFAST, 14/9/98: DUP leader Rev Ian Paisley was face to face with Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams during the first meeting of the new Assembly at Stormont today.
PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON

PACEMAKER, BELFAST, 14/9/98: DUP leader Rev Ian Paisley was face to face with Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams during the first meeting of the new Assembly at Stormont today. PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON

Gerry Adams, Sinn Fein.  Pacemaker Press Intl.  1st Oct. 1981

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Gerry Adams, Sinn Fein. Pacemaker Press Intl. 1st Oct. 1981 1010/82/BW

PACEMAKER PRESS INTL. BELFAST. Sinn Fein Election Posters for Gerry Adams who ran for West Belfast seat for N.I Assembly. He Won. 2/11/82.
1102/82/bw

PACEMAKER PRESS INTL. BELFAST. Sinn Fein Election Posters for Gerry Adams who ran for West Belfast seat for N.I Assembly. He Won. 2/11/82. 1102/82/bw

PACEMAKER BELFAST, 22/10/2001:  Gerry Adams chats with veteran IRA man Joe Cahill after telling the Sinn Fein party faithful in Conway Mill, Belfast today that he has recommended to the IRA that they start to decommission their arms to save the peace process. 
PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON

PACEMAKER BELFAST, 22/10/2001: Gerry Adams chats with veteran IRA man Joe Cahill after telling the Sinn Fein party faithful in Conway Mill, Belfast today that he has recommended to the IRA that they start to decommission their arms to save the peace process. PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON

PACEMAKER BELFAST   Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams pictured outside the party's HQ on the Falls Road in January 1984

PACEMAKER BELFAST Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams pictured outside the party's HQ on the Falls Road in January 1984

PACEMAKER BELFAST 08/04/98: Ulster Unionist Party leader, David Trimble and Sinn Fein President, Gerry Adams pass within touching distance outside Castle  Buildings, Stormont during a break in the negotiations before the signing of the Good Friday Agreement.

PACEMAKER BELFAST 08/04/98: Ulster Unionist Party leader, David Trimble and Sinn Fein President, Gerry Adams pass within touching distance outside Castle Buildings, Stormont during a break in the negotiations before the signing of the Good Friday Agreement.

PA

PACEMAKER BELFAST, 22/10/2001:  Gerry Adams tells the Sinn Fein party faithful in Conway Mill, Belfast today that he has recommended to the IRA that they start to decommission their arms to save the peace process. 
PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON

PACEMAKER BELFAST, 22/10/2001: Gerry Adams tells the Sinn Fein party faithful in Conway Mill, Belfast today that he has recommended to the IRA that they start to decommission their arms to save the peace process. PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON

PACEMAKER BELFAST 12/01/98 Gerry Adams, John
Hume and Albert Reynolds historic meeting at Government
Building in Dublin 06/09/94

PACEMAKER BELFAST 12/01/98 Gerry Adams, John Hume and Albert Reynolds historic meeting at Government Building in Dublin 06/09/94

Kelly may be confident that the IRA could not possibly have any blame, or responsibility, for any of the Ballymurphy killings, but an inquest is not going to take his word for it. No one in their right mind would.

Now, we have the added complication in assessing what happened during those days of being told that the UVF had a sniper firing into Ballymurphy and that this sniper believed he killed some of the victims.

The annoyance with this development, as expressed by many, does not address the question of whether it is plausible that the UVF had snipers firing into Ballymurphy. It focuses, instead, on the timing of the announcement, seeing it as an attempt to deflect attention away from the Paras.

The Paras were in action on those days; they were directing their fire into Ballymurphy. They remain the most likely killers of the innocent civilians. And this is made all the more likely now that we know how trigger-happy they were in Derry. But if a Para is charged with a murder and the doubt is raised that the UVF was to blame, then he may be acquitted.

We have seen other cases where confusion about who fired the shot that killed has led to an acquittal.

For instance, the conviction of Lee Clegg for the murder of joyrider Karen Reilly was overturned, not on the argument that he hadn't fired at the car in which she was traveling, but that the bullet which hit her could not firmly be traced back to his gun. But the other possibility is that the UVF claim is true, or at least genuinely held to be true.

Lost Lives reports that, at the time of the Ballymurphy massacre, a three-way gun battle raged between the Army, the IRA and loyalist gunmen firing from the Springmartin estate nearby.

So, there is nothing particularly unlikely about this week's claim by the UVF. It seems that, even without it, the inquest would have to consider the role of loyalists in the shootings.

There was also a later instance of loyalist gunmen firing into Springhill estate, beside Ballymurphy. This was in July 1972 after the IRA ended a two-week ceasefire. Six people died.

I was sent by the Sunday News, on which I was a junior reporter, to meet with Frank Cahill, the brother of Joe Cahill, to hear his version of the killings. He took me to Springhill and to the spots on which each of the victims died and he pointed out what could clearly be seen from each position, rectangular slats cut into the frontage of Corry's woodyard. Cahill claimed that these were the firing positions of the snipers.

My paper decided not to run the story, apparently because Corry's was an advertiser. Shortly afterwards, the IRA burned down the woodyard because snipers were using it.

This doesn't prove anything about the Ballymurphy killings, almost a year earlier, but it establishes that the IRA held the firm conviction that loyalist snipers were firing into the estate. They also believed that soldiers had facilitated those snipers, which may or may not be true.

So, those who would wish to dismiss the UVF claim to have been sniping at Catholic civilians in Ballymurphy have a difficulty. The IRA itself believed that such attacks were common and said so at the time.

The participation of loyalist gunmen is now on the historical record through Lost Lives. But there is another possible reason why the republicans might be miffed at the UVF claim, especially if it turns out to be true and even helpful to the inquest: it would put moral pressure on them to be as candid about their own actions at that time.

And who knows where that would lead? Perhaps to senior republicans, who were in the area at the time being called as witnesses.

On internment day in Ballymurphy, Gerry Adams organised a Press conference for Joe Cahill, the Belfast officer commanding, to prove to the media that he had survived the internment raids.

Ask him about that day. I'm sure he knows more about it than I do.

Malachi O'Doherty is the author of Gerry Adams: An Unauthorised Life, (Faber & Faber)

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