Ballymurphy families at Westminster
Ballymurphy families at Westminster

Families of those massacred by British soldiers in the Ballymurphy area of west Belfast over 30 years ago have taken their campaign for an independent international investigation to London.

A mother-of-eight and a local priest were among those killed in the 1971 shootings, which were carried out by the same British Army Parachute Regiment that, six months later, would kill 14 innocent civilians on Bloody Sunday in Derry.

Families of those killed have called for a new inquest into the deaths to be opened, after fresh information was presented at a Sinn Fein press conference last month.

Shortly afterwads, the British Secretary Owen Paterson insisted there could be no more open-ended investigations into the past. Paterson made the comments uring a debate on the Bloody Sunday Inquiry in the Westminster Parliament.

Sinn Fein MP Pat Doherty said 2011 would mark the 40th anniversary since the events of August 1971 when, in the two days after the introduction of internment, 11 people, including a mother of eight children and a local Catholic priest, were killed by the British Parachute Regiment.

He accompanied the families to Westminster on Wednesday to demand an apology from the British government and to lobby a wide range of political parties for an independent, international investigation.

“These investigations don’t have to be expensive if the British Government would just realise, if they told the truth and forced the British army to admit what happened then these things could be brought to the surface very quickly and without huge expense”, he said.

As part of the campaign for a fresh investigation, Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams said he would put forward an extensive submission, which included eyewitness accounts, inquest verdicts, autopsy reports, inquest, statements by Royal Military Police personnel, RUC reports from the date of the killings and Catholic Church archives.

Mr Adams said he would be presenting the documents to Attorney General John Larkin.

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