An inquest into the shooting dead of ten civilians by soldiers in the Parachute Regiment of the British Army over a terrifying three day period in Ballymurphy, Belfast in 1971 has concluded that all of those killed were “entirely innocent of any wrongdoings”.
Mrs Justice Keegan said today: “What is very clear is that all of the deceased in the series of inquests were entirely innocent of wrongdoing on the day in question”. She also said that their deaths were unjustified.
Justice at last.
Ten people shot dead at Ballymurphy, in west Belfast in 1971 were all innocent and their deaths were without justification, a coroner has ruled.
The relatives never wavered in their campaign for the truth and never gave up hope. A huge day for them all. pic.twitter.com/1bq3tz4val
— Hannah Spratt (@Radio_Han) May 11, 2021
The shootings, now known as “the Ballymurphy massacre”, occurred shortly after the introduction of internment in the north.
Those who died were Joan Connolly, 44, Joseph Corr, 43, Edward Doherty, 31, John Laverty, 20, John McKerr, 49, Fr Hugh Mullan, 38, Joseph Murray, 41, Noel Phillips, 19, Frank Quinn, 19, and Daniel Teggart, 44.
In the aftermath of the killings, the British Army said they have been attacked by gunmen. No one has ever been charged or convicted in connection with any of the shootings. The Parachute Regiment six months later went on to shoot 14 civilians dead in Derry on Bloody Sunday.
Today’s verdict makes it clear that those who had been shot dead by the British Army were entirely innocent.
The coroner said that one of the men who had been shot – Fr Hugh Mullan – was a “peacekeeper” and that he was carrying a white object at the time he was killed by the Parachute Regiment. Another of the victims, Joan Connolly, was mother to eight children.
The court heard from more than 150 witnesses over almost 100 days of evidence. The families of those who were killed said they have waited 50 years for justice.
— Mary Kate Quinn (@marykate_quinn) May 11, 2021
Yesterday, the families of those who were shot dead over those three harrowing days in Ballymurphy attended a special mass at Corpus Christi church in the area.
Photographs of the ten victims were placed around candles on the altar as mass was celebrated. Fr Paddy McCafferty said that the result of the inquest would be a “momentous” day for the families, but that it would also be a “painful” one.
— Mal McCann (@MalMccann) May 11, 2021