Northern Ireland news

Ballymurphy inquest hears that IRA ambush on army 'showed strength'

Ballymurphy families arrive for the inquest yesterday. Picture by Mal McCann

THE Ballymurphy inquest yesterday heard that an ambush on an army convoy in west Belfast showed the strength of the IRA in 1971.

A former captain in the Parachute Regiment described the attack on the convoy on August 11 as it travelled along the Falls Road in Andersonstown.

Witness M226 said they were lucky no one was killed or injured after three of the tyres were shot in the Land Rover belonging to Lt Col Geoffrey Howlett - the battalion commander at the time - while the vehicle he was in was peppered with bullets.

He told the court it "showed the IRA were out on the streets in force at the time".

The inquest is examining the deaths of 10 people deaths in west Belfast in August 1971.

Witness M226 said he did not see any of the Ballymurphy shootings and told the court he had no recollection of visiting B Company in the area on the day six people were fatally shot.

But the witness, who was captain on duty keeping the 2 Para Headquarters Watchkeeper's Log, gave evidence to the court about the way battalion logs were compiled and kept.

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