By Gráinne McWilliams

THE Irish government has undertaken to “assist” and “support” the Ballymurphy Families “in their search for justice” in light of the Attorney General for Northern Ireland’s announcement to reopen inquests into the deaths of 10 of the 11 people who died in the 1971 massacre.

The offer of support was made by Jan O’Sullivan TD, the Minister of State at the Department of Foreign Affairs and  Trade with responsibility for Trade and Development, during a  debate in the Dáil on Tuesday.  The Minister also recommitted that the Taoiseach Enda Kenny would meet with the families in the near future.

The former West Belfast MP Gerry Adams, who is now a TD for of Louth, welcomed the minister’s comments and read out the names of the 11 Massacre victims in the Dáil chamber.

He added that the inquest decision was “a landmark legal judgement which provides the families with an opportunity to get to the truth of the killing of their loved ones” and that “the decision by the Attorney General is evidence of the importance of having policing and justice powers transferred”.

“None of those killed had any connection to any armed group,” said Mr Adams.

“They were all innocent civilians. And their deaths were part of a planned policy by the British government to pacify the community.  The original  inquests held into the Ballymurphy victims were a fraud and part of the process of cover-up that accompanied British state killings in the North. The decision by the Attorney General is evidence of the importance of having policing and justice powers transferred. Despite the clear evidence in support of the reopening of these inquests, a British Attorney General would never have agreed to it. The new inquests, held under different rules, provide the families with the possibility of getting to the truth.

“The inquests must now be held without delay and the families must be provided with the necessary resources to ensure that all of the facts are uncovered.

“The families also believe that the role of the British state and of its armed forces warrants a full, thorough international investigation and an apology from the British government which recognises their innocence.”

Timeline  of the  Ballymurphy Massacre between  August  9 and 11  1971

Pressure for public inquiry will not ease

Fresh inquests into the Ballymurphy Massacre are a big step forward in the campaign for truth

A welcome sign

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