L EADING loyalist Willie Frazer has sparked fury over comments he made about the murder of 11 innocents in West Belfast in 1971.
Speaking after Shadow Secretary of State Ivan Lewis said that David Cameron should meet with the families of those killed in the Ballymurphy Massacre, Mr Frazer said the victims had been killed during “three days of rioting”.
When we called him this week and asked him what he meant, he said the British Prime Minister had never met with the families of the 1976 Kingsmill Massacre in which 10 Protestants were shot and went on to make disparaging remarks about the Ballymurphy victims, and in particular Fr Hugh Mullan.
The priest was shot in the back after having telephoned the Henry Taggart Army base to explain that he was going to help a wounded man.
In total, 11 people were murdered by the British Army’s Parachute Regiment in the estate in a 36-hour rampage in August 1971 following the introduction of internment.
Willie Frazer told the Andersonstown News that relatives of those killed at Kingsmill should take precedence in Mr Cameron’s schedule.
“Basically our attitude is that there is no disputing the facts around what happened in Kingsmill,” he said. “There was no rioting and nobody was being used as cover for the IRA. I’m not saying the ones killed in Ballymurphy weren’t innocent, but there were three days of rioting and nobody should have been out.”
When reminded that a priest administering comfort was among the Ballymurphy dead, Mr Frazer hit out at the Catholic Church.
“It doesn’t surprise me a priest was killed,” he said. “Priests have been heavily involved in terrorism and paedophile rings for years. I don’t know if this one was innocent or guilty or if he was stoking the riot or not. I do know that the Catholic Church covered up priests in terrorism and paedophilia.
“I’m not saying this priest was guilty, the circumstances would need to be checked out. I certainly couldn’t say that they were all innocent in Ballymurphy. I would support an investigation into Ballymurphy by the police, I’m all for inquiries as long as they come both ways. As for anyone meeting the Prime Minister, I would say he needs to prioritise his meetings because there was no rioting at Kingsmill.”
John Teggart, who lost his father Daniel Teggart in the massacre, said the comments, coming from a man who claims to be a victims’ campaigner, are “disgraceful”.
“Unlike Willie Frazer, we agree that all victims deserve closure via inquiries about the death of their loved ones, with no priority system,” he said. “We can prove that all those killed in Ballymurphy were innocent, including the Catholic priest who, from a young age, dedicated his life to helping others, right up until the minute he was killed. He sacrificed his life to help a wounded man and did so through a barrage of bullets.
“In those three days in Ballymurphy, no arms or bullets were recovered, no RUC or Army personnel were injured in rioting or anything else. These are the facts. To say he is part of a victims group and then speak about prioritising meetings is nothing short of disgraceful.
“Willie Frazer would need to go into a dark room and think about what he has said about other victims,” he added.