Irish Republican News · December 7, 2010
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
Unionists oppose Ballymurphy exhibition

Unionists have sought to prevent the families of those who died in the Ballymurphy massacre from displaying photographs in Belfast City Hall next August on the 40th anniversary of their deaths.

In August 1971, members of the British Army’s Paracute Regiment were drafted into Ballymurpby in west Belfast durlng the launch of internment.

Over the next three days 11 unarmed people were sbot dead by the unit. No-one bas ever been charged over the killings and the victims’ families have campaigned for an independent investigation.

The exhibition would illustrate how the shootings have affected their lives.

The proposed exhibition, entitled Reflections, will consist of 12 boards - one for each person killed and one board which would set the scene.

The exhibition has struggled since the Ballymurphy families first submitted their request to the mainly unionist council in September.

Ulster Unionist councillor David Browne said the language associated with the exhibit, such as ‘massacre’, was too inflammatory.

But Alan McBride, who lost his wife and father-in-law in an IRA attack, called for the councillors to support the Ballymurphy families.

In an unusual move, he addressed the council on the issue alongside Briedge Voyle from the Ballymurphy families.

Ms Voyle, whose mother Joan Connolly was shot dead at Ballymurphy, said the families wanted the opportunity to “tell our stories”.

“Our group believe that every victim has a right to tell the stories about how the loss of their loved ones has affected them,” she said.

“We have a right to know the truth about how our loved ones died. This is what our exihibition is about.”

However, the topic was deemed too controversial to be debated by the full council.

Meanwhile, three members of the families have frown to Washington DC to brief US politicians on their call for an inquiry.

“We are not calling for another Saville [Bloody Sunday] type public inquiry, but we want an independent investigation into all the facts surrounding the murders of our loved ones,” said John Teggart.

Mr Teggart’s 44-year-old father Daniel died after he was shot 14 times, leaving behind a family of 13 children.

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