Ballymurphy campaign lobby Tory conference


Families of the 10 men and one woman killed by the British Army’s Parachute Regiment in Ballymurphy in Belfast during the early days of internment in August 1971 have demanded a Hillsborough style investigation.

The victims were killed over three days of violence by paratroops during Operation Demetrius, when the British Army seized Catholics and placed them into internment camps. A priest and a mother-of-eight were among those who died in the massacre.

Campaigners handed out leaflets to passers-by this week outside the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham in England, but were given a cold shoulder by British prime minister David Cameron.

John Teggart, whose father, Danny, was one of those killed, said British ministers and officials were falsely told that the families were seeking a Bloody Sunday Inquiry-type investigation that would costs many millions of pounds.

Mr Teggart, who was accompanied by Patrick Doherty, said that level of inquiry was not necessary, pointing to the effectiveness of the recent Hillsborough inquiry.

“We are looking for a Hillsborough-type inquiry, where independent people can look at the evidence,” he said. “We feel that we have been ignored and forgotten.”

In June, Villiers’s predecessor, Owen Paterson, told them an inquiry was “not in the public interest”.

Speaking over the weekend, Mr Cameron did not commit himself to meeting the families and supporters in Birmingham, while efforts by the families to get passes for the conference failed.

However, a number of members of the Ballymurphy campaign later attended a breakfast hosted by the peace and reconciliation group Champ, which was attended by the new British Direct Ruler Theresa Villiers. A meeting with some of her officials was arranged later.

Speaking afterwards Mr Teggart said it had been a “positive step forward”.

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© 2012 Irish Republican News