The Ballymurphy inquest


A chara, – In reference to Gerry Moriarty’s articles of 9May 9th on my appearance at the inquest into the killing of 10 people, including a priest and a mother of eight, by the British Parachute Regiment in Ballymurphy in August 1971, The Irish Times devotes more space and prominence to recycled allegations about my membership of the IRA than to my evidence, which flatly contradicts British army claims about what happened in the 48 hours after internment was introduced.

Those killed were entirely innocent neighbours. They had no connection to any republican organisation. They posed no threat to the British army. They were trying to help neighbours who were fleeing from homes under attack by loyalist mobs, out looking for their children, or going about their lawful business.

I told the inquest that the IRA had decided not to engage with the British army and had “faded away”, apart from some incidents of token resistance, none of which played any role in the killings by British Paras. I repeatedly and factually challenged the efforts by the barrister representing the British Ministry of Defence to suggest that there were widespread armed actions from the IRA in Ballymurphy at the time my neighbours were killed.

All of these are pertinent matters in the context of trying to get truth and justice for the families of those killed.

It is telling that the counsel for the British Ministry of Defence did not properly challenge my evidence or put to me any of the detail of the alleged gunfire which some ex-British soldiers claim came from republicans.

Instead he concentrated on allegations against me which have nothing to do with the matters being investigated by the inquest.

This points to the reality that there is no credible evidence to support the British allegations of sustained gunfire directed at the Paratroopers. That is because there was none. – Is mise,



Leinster House,

Kildare Street,

Dublin 2.