Soldiers present during Ballymurphy Massacre "not yet traced"

Gerry Adams has expressed his "concern and anger" after the MOD said it had not yet traced the British soldiers present at the time of the 1971 Ballymurphy Massacre Picture by Colm O'Reilly
John Monaghan

THE Ministry of Defence (MoD) has "not yet been successful" in tracing any of the soldiers present in Ballymurphy in August 1971 when 11 people lost their lives, it has been claimed.

The MoD also claim they have been unable to "uncover any records within its control regarding the original cipher list at Ballymurphy", in a further setback for the families of the victims.

The letter notes: "Forty seven letters have been sent out to individuals and responses are awaited."

Ten people were shot dead in the area in the three days after internment was introduced, among them a priest and a mother-of-eight.

An 11th person died of a heart attack following a confrontation involving a soldier.

The letter, sent from the Crown Solicitors Office to the Coroners Service in Belfast, states that the "member of staff assigned to Ballymurphy has been reassigned to another inquest temporarily" and that the PSNI had advised that its resources for the legacy inquest process "are finite."

However Eileen McKeown, whose father Joseph Corr was one of the 11 victims, said she understood the soldiers names were on a list handed to the coroner in the original inquests in 1972.

She added: "We know for fact that the now scrapped HET has traced soldiers from these lists which would have been handed in at each inquest. We believe that Chief Constable George Hamilton is ignoring the families just like all his predecessors."

Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams expressed his "deep concern and anger" after being shown a copy of the letter.

Mr Adams a Louth TD and the former MP for West Belfast, said the matter deserved "the urgent attention" of Taoiseach Enda Kenny.

He added: "The deliberate withholding of resources and the failure to speedily identify the soldiers present in Ballymurphy is evidence of a British government and MoD deliberately frustrating the families efforts."


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