Families of 11 victims of incident in Ballymurphy seek inquiry
FAMILIES OF the 10 men and one woman killed by the British army’s Parachute Regiment in Ballymurphy in Belfast during the early days of internment in August 1971 have demanded a Hillsborough-style investigation.
Campaigners handed out leaflets to passers-by yesterday outside the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham, but failed in their effort to meet directly with prime minister David Cameron.
Speaking there, John Teggart, whose father, Danny, was one of those killed, said British ministers and officials were privately briefed that the families were seeking a Savile Inquiry-type investigation that would costs tens of millions.
However, Mr Teggart, who was accompanied by Patrick Doherty, said: “We are looking for a Hillsborough-type inquiry, where independent people can look at the evidence.
“We feel that we have been ignored and forgotten.”
Speaking over the weekend, Mr Cameron did not commit himself to meeting the families and supporters in Birmingham, though he said he hoped that they “would be well-received”.
Efforts by the families to get passes for the conference failed.
“But I understand the strength of feeling about the case, as about so many cases from the deeply troubled and difficult past of Northern Ireland,” Mr Cameron said.
Today, a number of members of the Ballymurphy campaign are expected to attend a breakfast hosted by the peace and reconciliation group Champ, which will be attended by Northern Ireland secretary of state Theresa Villiers.
In her speech to a conference gathering yesterday, Ms Villiers encouraged Northern Ireland’s political parties to move to a situation where a government and opposition, rather than the existing multiparty cabinet, could be formed in Stormont.
Changes could only come about with cross-community backing, she said.
“Stability in Northern Ireland has been hard-won. And this government will not push forward with anything that puts that at risk.”
Maintaining the position taken by her predecessor, Owen Paterson, Ms Villiers said that “the costs of division remain too high”, most notably in education and housing.
She encouraged the work being done by the Northern Ireland Executive on shared education.
“When they take the difficult decisions needed to make progress, the UK government stands ready to back them.”