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Ballymurphy families wary of amnesties

The Ballymurphy families outside the High Court in Belfast. File picture by Hugh Russell

A SPOKESMAN for relatives of 10 people shot dead by British soldiers in west Belfast in 1971 has hit out at the possibility of a statute of limitations for Troubles investigations.

Proposed legislation may have moved a step closer after the DUP agreed to prop up a Tory government in Parliament.

The DUP and several Conservative MPs have claimed that legacy investigations have disproportionately focussed on soldiers and police officers, a claim rejected by prosecutors and nationalist politicians.

Calls have been made for legislation that would protect British soldiers linked to historical killings from prosecution.

There has also been speculation that any statute of limitations would have to be widened to include killings by loyalists and republicans.

However John Teggart, whose father Danny was killed at Ballymurphy in 1971, said he would "strongly oppose" any form of amnesty.

"It should be all down to the legal system," he said. "We went down the legal route. It can't be interfered with."

Mr Teggart said he was also concerned about funding for legacy cases following any DUP/Tory deal.

The Ballymurphy families were told last month that a long-awaited inquest into the killings will finally get underway in September 2018.

Mr Teggart said any plans for an amnesty or statute of limitations will affect both communities.

"It's not just about us," he said. "The Kingsmill families (of 10 Protestant workmen killed by the IRA) are also having an inquest. People want to get the truth.

"We'll get to the truth no matter what."

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