Irish Republican News · March 28, 2015
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
IRISH REPUBLICAN NEWS: Kenny visits site of Ballymurphy massacre
Kenny visits site of Ballymurphy massacre

kennyballymurphy.jpg

The families of 10 innocent civilians killed in the 1971 Ballymurphy massacre have described a meeting with Taoiseach Enda Kenny this week as a “positive move forward”.

Speaking after the meeting in west Belfast on Friday, group spokesman John Teggart, whose father was among those killed by the British Army’s Parachute Regiment in August 1971, said the Taoiseach was shown the exact location where victims had died.

“The meeting went extremely well and the Taoiseach lived up to his promise to come here and meet with us,” Mr Teggart said.

“He saw the location where our loved ones died and I think he was moved by that. He was shown the close proximity of the murder scene to the then Henry Taggart Army Barracks and he commented that it was not more than 25 yards away.”

Ten people were shot dead in the area in the three days after internment was introduced, among them a priest and a mother-of-eight. An eleventh person died of a heart attack following a confrontation involving a soldier.

The Taoiseach, who has already backed relatives in their call for an independent inquiry into the shootings 40 years ago, used the visit to call on the British government to reciprocate his recent assurances that Garda files relating to the Kingsmill attack would be released.

“I think there’s an evolving process here,” Mr Kenny said following yesterday’s walkabout in Ballymurphy.

“People say to me, ‘How can you put pressure on the British government?’ Well, clearly we have the support of the US, they want an end to 40 years of waiting around for information, not just in the case of Ballymurphy, but in many others.”

In a meeting with victims’ families and loyalist lobbyist Willie Frazer on Thursday, Kenny promised the Dublin government would release all relevant material about a deadly attack on Protestant workmen near Kingsmills in 1976, and that state files would be passed on to a coroner. The move followed threats by Frazer to stage a sectarian march through Dublin city centre if files on the case were not passed on.

Yesterday, Mr Teggart said it was now time for the British government to stop “dragging their heels” over disclosure of documents relating to the Ballymurphy killings.

“Up until now the MoD [British Ministry of Defence] and the PSNI have not been cooperating with our legal team,” he said, “and what you find is, month after month they’re saying they’re not ready and they’re not handing the disclosure over to us.”

CIVIL ACTION

Meanwhile, relatives of almost 30 people murdered by a loyalist gang operating in Mid Ulster are to launch a civil action against the PSNI (formerly RUC) police for its failure to properly investigate the killings.

A dossier compiled by lawyers who painstakingly established links between the deaths is to form the basis for the unprecedented case. The lawyers have also linked a single gunman to many of the murders during the early to mid-1990s.

Kevin Winters of KRW Law said the investigative work should have been done by detectives at the time, potentially saving lives.

“Police should have done this years ago and didn’t. In the absence of a proper investigation it’s left to us to pursue civil litigation,” he said.

And a coroner’s court heard more evidence this week that the British state had been involved in “mass murder” in the north by the ‘Glenanne Gang’, which contained members of the RUC and British soldiers of the Ulster Defence Regiment.

Mother-of-three Elizabeth McDonald and 22-year-old Gerard McGleenan died after a no-warning bomb planted by the same gang exploded outside the Step Inn pub in Keady in County Armagh.

During the hearing barrister for Ms McDonald’s husband Malachi, Leslie Thomas QC, said that members of the British Crown forces colluded with loyalists paramilitaries in up to 80 murders across Mid Ulster between July 1972 and June 1978.

“If what we say is right this is the biggest involvement of state agents in mass murder on British soil,” he said.

“We say that what the families of the bereaved want, quite simply can be put in a few words. They want the truth, they want the truth to come out, they want justice.”

The barrister said that the same weapons were used in many of the Glenanne Gang’s murders while the killers adopted the same “modus operandi”.

“Many of those responsible were either serving or former members of the security forces,” he said.

“There were close ballistic links between the victims, the weapons used in many of the killings which originated within the Ulster Defence Regiment.”

© 2015 Irish Republican News