Northern Ireland news

Ballymurphy massacre film launched

Relatives of the Ballymurphy Massacre victims have campaigned for justice
Connla Young

A documentary about the Ballymurphy Massacre will be released in cinemas across Ireland and Britain today.

The Ballymurphy Precedent, by Emmy and BAFTA nominated journalist and filmmaker, Callum Macrae, charts the events over three days after the introduction of internment in August 1971.

Ten people were shot dead while Paddy McCarthy, the eleventh victim, died following a heart attack after allegedly being put through the ordeal of a mock execution by British troops.

Among the other victims was a Catholic priest, Fr Hugh Mullan, a mother-of-eight Joan Connolly and father of 10 Daniel Teggart who was shot 14 times.

His son Bernard was shot dead by the IRA in November 1973.

The Queen’s Own Regiment was in the area at the time although the killings have been attributed to the Parachute Regiment. In recent months it has been claimed that a UVF gunman in the nearby Springmartin estate was responsible for some of the deaths.

Months after the Ballymurphy massacre the Parachute Regiment also gunned down 14 innocent civilians in Derry.

As well as providing background information, the film dramatically reenacts how some of the victims were killed.

Those who took part included relatives of the dead and former British soldiers who were based in Belfast at the time.

The documentary is being screened ahead of a new inquest into the deaths.

John Teggart

Daniel Teggart’s son John, who took part in the film, said it gives relatives of those killed an opportunity to tell their story to a new audience.

“It’s people who in England, Scotland and Wales (are) hearing our story for the first time,” he said.

“It’s an awareness and I would hope it would trigger some conscience in people to come forward.”

Mr Teggart said those killed were unarmed.

“It’s obvious they were not gunmen or gun women,” he said.

“The proof is there, these people were in their own area and neighbours and were unarmed.”

Ballymurphy after the 1971 massacre

Earlier this year loyalists claimed that members of the UVF were involved in some of the killings.

At the time the claim was dismissed by relatives.

Mr Teggart gives little weight to the claims.

“The evidence they have put forward to the coroner as has been quoted by Karen Quinlivan QC and Michael Mansfield QC, its hearsay and nonsense,” he said.

The Ballymurphy Precedent will be shown in cinemas in Ireland and Britain today and followed by a question and answer session chaired by Channel 4 news presenter Jon Snow which will be seen ad heard in all participating cinemas.

A short version of the film will also be shown on Channel 4 on September 9.

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