This afternoon the families of 11 civilians shot dead by the British army in August 1971 walked through Ballymurphy with their MP Gerry Adams and Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs Míceál Martin.
The families explained how their loved ones were killed with impunity over the course of 2 days and showed the minister firsthand the spots where their loved ones were killed.
Speaking afterwards sister of John Laverty Rita Bonner said
“This was very emotional for all of us. For over 30 years our story was unknown and unacknowledged. There was no investigation and no remorse. Many of our surviving parents have since passed away all knowing that our parents and siblings were innocent but finding that no one would listen.
“Today a minister from our government – the Irish government – listened and walked beside us on the very streets where our loved ones died. It was hugely symbolic and a real indication that we can achieve truth and acknowledgement all these year later. Our MP Gerry Adams has supported us on our journey over the past three years and organised today’s visit, his support is very important.”
Speaking on behalf of Relatives for Justice Deputy Director Andrée Murphy said:
“The families’ dignity and bravery today was deeply impressive and humbling.
Theirs has been a painful and long journey that sometimes can be very lonely. Today they were joined in solidarity and in person by their MP Gerry Adams and the Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs Míceál Martin.
“The importance of this should not be underestimated – it is a huge step forward and an example of how processes of acknowledgement can be achieved in some measure with imagination and humility.
“It is now time for all those charged with political responsibility to focus their minds proactively on at last dealing with the legacy of our past for all victims. These families from Ballymurphy demand and require the dignity of an independent investigation into the egregious killings and cover-ups of the killings of their loved ones. This is the modest human right of truth. There is nothing to fear from this.” ENDS