The Ballymurphy Massacre Inquest will be a fundamental test of Britain's ability to give legacy justice. If relatives cannot get justice where 11 victims, including a Catholic priest and mother of 8 children were killed by British troops, how can we expect justice in any killings or collusion murders where British troops were involved? Trevor Ringland's blame anyone but the British outlook mirrors the immaturity of a British government still unwilling to take responsibility for its actions.(November 1st)
Mr. Ringland urges understanding of "the context" in which these killings occurred, an "environment of hatred brought about by our extremes". What context for the "Ballymurphy Massacre" would shift blame from the British troopers who opened fire or the regime which deployed them to do so?
The "context" was created by British Prime Minister Edward Heath granting Brian Faulkner's wish for Internment. Faulkner's Ulster Unionist Party, using blatant sectarian policies, may have fostered an "environment of hate" but Britain gave them carte blanche to run their Orange State for nearly fifty years.
On Monday August 9,1971, British troopers in Ballymurphy and across the north, broke into homes, terrorized families, jailed hundreds without charge, and began a catastrophic Internment policy lasting four years. Next they selected men held without charge, to be hooded and tortured. How does Britain escape blame for using Internment or hooded men torture?
This was no sudden short-lived burst of gunfire. It was hours after the first day's raids ended before a Catholic priest, waving a white handkerchief, Fr. Hugh Mullan, nineteen year old Francis Quinn, and mother of 8 children, Joan Connolly, were shot dead for going to help wounded victims. Daniel Teggart, was shot a total of 14 times, as he lay on the ground. Noel Philips was also shot dead that first night. The killing spree lasted three days.
Joseph Murphy was wounded, taken into custody and seems to have been shot again while in the barracks.
Edward Doherty, John Laverty, Joseph Corr and John McKerr were killed over the next two days. An eleventh victim, Paddy McCarthy, died of a heart attack, after a mock execution.
The families then saw British Royal Military Police brand their dead loved ones guilty to proclaim troopers innocent.
Forty-seven years later these families are still fighting for truth. Tory MPs shouting witch-hunt, or Mr. Ringland blaming phantoms, are signs they still refuse to see, much less work through the legacy truths of British rule.