Relatives of the ten victims of the Ballymurphy Massacre say they won’t be deterred by yesterday’s Stormont vote rejecting a call for the Assembly to back an inquiry into the killings.
48 MLAs – all of them unionist – voted against the Sinn Féin/Alliance motion, while 44 voted in favour. But campaigning families say they’ve been greatly buoyed by the extent of support they’ve garnered and have vowed to redouble their efforts to expose the truth about what happened in August 1971.
Eleven people died after the Parachute Regiment went on the rampage on the streets of Ballymurphy. Just six months later the same regiment killed 14 people on the streets of Derry in a rampage that became known across the world as Bloody Sunday.
John Teggart, whose father Daniel was shot and killed during the massacre, said: “Family members of those who were murdered in Ballymurphy in August 1971 were in the public gallery to hear the motion brought forward by the Alliance Party MLA Trevor Lunn, a long-time supporter of the families.
“The Ballymurphy families were saddened to see unionist politicians out in force to deny the us the chance of support in both north and south of Ireland political institutions.
“This was just another step in the long campaign for truth for our group, for the Ballymurphy Massacre Families.
“We will not be deterred by the actions of those who opposed us but will be strengthen by those who supported us today.”
SDLP MLA Alex Attwood MLA said despite the opposition of unionist parties the families of those killed will prevail.
“I want to applaud the dignity, resilience, courage and dedication of families like the Ballymurphy Massacre families in refusing to have anything other than an acknowledgement of truth and accountability, and, hard though it may be to secure, justice as well,” he said. “Despite the opposition of unionist parties, the call for an independent investigation into the Ballymurphy Massacre will win. The British Government should acknowledge this and immediately initiate an independent review and investigation of the circumstances of the murders of their family.”
Sinn Féin MLA Rosie McCorley said the families are entitled to truth and justice.
“The families of those killed in the Ballymurphy Massacre are entitled to maximum disclosure about what happened to their loved ones in 1971,” she said. “The British Government are continuing to protect those responsible by refusing to hold a full inquiry into what happened. The mechanisms on dealing with the past agreed at Stormont House, which include maximum disclosure, must be implemented.
“The families want to see an independent panel appointed to review all of the documentation and files held by the British Government. I welcome the fact that the Alliance Party co-sponsored today’s motion but it is disappointing that the unionist parties are continuing to oppose the long search for the truth of the Ballymurphy families.
“Sinn Féin will continue to support the families of the eleven people who were killed in Ballymurphy in their campaign for maximum disclosure.”