Irish Republican News · November 1, 2010
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
AG presented with new Ballymurphy evidence

New eyewitness accounts of the shootings of 11 people by British soldiers in west Belfast were submitted to Six-County attorney general John Larkin at the weekend in an attempt to get fresh inquests opened.

The killings happened only months before soldiers from the Parachute Regiment shot dead 14 civil rights marchers in Derry in 1972. In August 1971, the British army stormed the area to capture and intern nationalists.

The open verdicts delivered in the original inquests are seen as part of the same climate of cover-up which caused the now-disgraced Lord Widgery to whitewash the Bloody Sunday massacre.

The statements form part of an extensive file of information compiled by families of the Ballymurphy massacre victims.

Briege Voyle, whose mother Joan Connolly was killed in Ballymurphy, expressed hope that the file contained enough evidence to persuade Mr Larkin to open new inquests.

“Some of this was available at the time of our loved ones’ murders and was not considered or investigated,” she said.

“The families, for over the last 20 years, have collected information from eyewitnesses to the massacre along with full autopsy reports that were previously withheld from the families and hope that the attorney general may open the inquest into the death of our loved ones and consider investigating the circumstances around their murder and conclude that they were brutally murdered.

“This is only another step in the long process in the hope of acquiring an independent international investigation into the murder of our loved ones.”

One of the victims was a Catholic priest, shot down as he administered the Last Rites to another victim, who would uitimately survive. Witnesses say the priest was heard praying to himself as he lay dying.

Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams was among the delegation that handed the submission to the Attorney General’s Office in Belfast, including new documents from the Catholic church.

The West Belfast MP said the recent appointment of the first Six-County attorney general in 38 years had enabled the new legal bid.

“The accounts of how the 11 died bear a striking similarity to the stories told by the Bloody Sunday families,” Mr Adams said.

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