Appeal for witnesses to 1971 Ballymurphy massacre

Witnesses to a British Army operation in which 10 people were killed in 1971 are being urged to make statements about what they saw.

A Catholic priest and a mother of eight were among those gunned down during three days of shooting involving members of the Parachute Regiment in west Belfast after the introduction of internment in August that year.

The episode is referred to by bereaved families as the "Ballymurphy massacre".

Photo: Photopress Belfast

With inquests due to be held in September, the Coroner's Court appealed for anyone who has not made a statement or anyone who wants to change their account to come to a special meeting.

"The Coroner's investigator may ask to take a statement from you on the day or may make arrangements to take a statement from you on a later date," a spokeswoman for the office said.

"If you were a witness to the shootings or if you have other information to provide about the shootings, this is an important opportunity for you to assist the inquest.

"You may also be asked to attend the inquest to give evidence, but the necessary arrangements for that will be made at a later stage."

Coroner's staff will be on hand to liaise with witnesses at Belfast Metropolitan College on the Springfield Road in Belfast on February 1.

Witnesses are being asked to be prepared to give brief details of their account of the events in Ballymurphy around August 9, 10 and 11 in 1971.

Those who died were Francis Quinn, Father Hugh Mullan, Noel Phillips, Joan Connolly, Daniel Teggart, Joseph Murphy, Edward Doherty, John Laverty, Joseph Corr and John James McKerr.

As well as the 10 people shot, another man died of a heart attack following an alleged violent confrontation with British soldiers troops in the estate.

The coroner's office also said other arrangements can be made for witnesses who are not comfortable attending the day-long meeting or if they cannot make it.

The inquests, among 50 Troubles-related legacy cases to be examined, are being heard by Justice Siobhan Keegan.

KEYWORDS: Belfast

 

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