Taoiseach encourages British government to acknowledge innocence of Ballymurphy victims

Speaking after Boris Johnson’s announcement, the Irish Government reaffirmed its solidarity with the Ballymurphy families as they approach the 50th anniversary of the killings.
Taoiseach encourages British government to acknowledge innocence of Ballymurphy victims

Undated Ballymurphy Massacre Committee handout file photos of (left to right top row) Joseph Corr, Danny Taggart, Eddie Doherty, Father Hugh Mullan, Frank Quinn, Paddy McCarthy, (left to right, bottom row) Joan Connolly, John McKerr, Noel Philips, John Laverty and Joseph Murphy, who were all gunshot victims of the Ballymurphy massacre in west Belfast in 1971. 

The Taoiseach has encouraged the British government to acknowledge the innocence of those killed in Ballymurphy, Belfast 1971.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson apologised tonight "unreservedly on behalf of the UK government" over the "events that took place in Ballymurphy", and the "huge anguish" caused to the families of those who were killed, Downing Street has said.

The families of those killed are unhappy with the apology, some of whom say they found out through text message.

Speaking after Boris Johnson’s announcement, the Irish Government reaffirmed its solidarity with the Ballymurphy families as they approach the 50th anniversary of the killings.

“The inquest findings are clear that these victims were entirely innocent. The persistence of their families has been remarkable and is a tribute to their absolute determination to establish the truth,” Micheál Martin said.

“I would encourage the British Government to respond in a comprehensive and fulsome way to the finding that ten completely innocent people were shot and killed.

“I would encourage them to acknowledge and affirm the innocence of the Ballymurphy victims.

“I would encourage them to understand the depth of the pain and grief felt by the families and how that pain and grief was compounded by the untruths that were told about their loved ones.

"This should be done in a manner that respects the wishes of these families.” 

The son of an innocent man killed by soldiers in Ballymurphy 50 years ago today rejected a “third party apology” from the UK Prime Minister.

John Teggart queried why Boris Johnson did not make a public apology.

Mr Teggart said it is an “insult to the families” that Mr Johnson’s apology came in a conversation with others.

“The apology was to third parties, it wasn’t to the Ballymurphy families,” he told the BBC.

“It’s not a public apology … what kind of insult is it to families that he couldn’t have the conversation with ourselves. His office couldn’t come and speak to the families of what he was doing.

“That’s not acceptable to the families and never will be. This is not an apology to us.” 

Breige Voyle, whose mother Joan Connolly was killed in Ballymurphy, dismissed Mr Johnson’s apology.

“Why are we only hearing about this now,” she said.

“Is he trying to sneak it in. I don’t care about an apology, I want to know why, our loved ones were all completely innocent so why were they shot.

“His apology means nothing, we need him to go back to the MoD and tell them to tell the truth, tell our legal team the names of the soldiers who murdered our loved ones and ask them why.” 

She said an apology by Mr Johnson in the House of Commons would have “at least been a bit more respectful… as if he is holding us in a wee bit of respect but to do it this way is trying to push it under the carpet”.

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