Northern Ireland news

Anger at late MoD disclosure in Ballymurphy Massacre case

John Teggart whose father was killed in the Ballymurphy Masacare in 1971
Connla Young

The naming of thousands of former British soldiers to a coroner days before the start of an inquest into the Ballymurphy Massacre has been branded a “dirty low deed” by angry relatives.

Earlier this week, the Ministry of Defence handed over a database of almost 5,000 names of former soldiers to the Coroner's Office.

The spreadsheet is believed to contain 4,773 entries of individuals from the Parachute Regiment, Queen's Regiment and Queen's Division who had been serving at the time of the killings.

The Coroner's Office had been attempting to trace former soldiers who may have been at Ballymurphy during the shootings to call as witnesses to the inquest.

An inquest was due to begin on September 10 with a preliminary hearing scheduled for next week.

Ten people were shot dead while another man, 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.

Mr Teggart's son John was critical of the development last night.

“It's expected they would do all in their power to stop it (the inquest) but six days before it is due is a dirty low deed,” he said.

Mr Teggart believes the MoD decision to hand over the information was deliberately timed.

“The MoD has put this forward to swamp the coroner with information that she is duty bound to look at,” he said.

“The families are devastated, they didn't need that and don't need this.”

Solicitor for the families Pádraig Ó Muirigh said relatives are angry.

"The MoD had been requested to provide information about soldiers on many, many occasions and failed to produce adequate information,” he said.

"The concern is that this will have an impact on the commencement of this inquest and they take a very cynical view of this disclosure.

“We hope the coroner remains focused on the inquest.”

A spokeswoman for the coroner said the inquest remains listed for September 10 and a preliminary hearing will take place next Thursday.

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