Northern Ireland

Church prayers for Ballymurphy families as they prepare to hear the inquest findings

Ballymurphy families at court this morning. Picture by Hugh Russell
Ballymurphy families at court this morning. Picture by Hugh Russell

PRAYERS will be said today for the families of 10 people killed in Ballymurphy over 36 hours immediately after the introduction of internment in August 1971, as they prepare to hear the inquest findings.

Coroner Mrs Justice Keegan will publish her findings tomorrow - 30 months after the inquest opened into the deaths in November 2018.

The court heard almost 100 days of evidence from more than 100 witnesses, including more than 60 former soldiers, more than 30 civilians, and experts in ballistics, pathology and civil engineering.

The most senior former soldier to testify was Gen Sir Mike Jackson, the former head of the British Army and Chief of the General Staff.

Relatives of those killed between August 9-11 1971 will attend 10am Mass today at Corpus Christi Catholic Church in Ballymurphy, west Belfast.

Among those killed was the church's curate Fr Hugh Mullan (38), who the inquest was told was shot as he crossed waste ground waving a white babygro in an attempt to deliver the Last Rites to an injured man who survived his own gunshot wound.

Father-of-eight John McKerr (49), a joiner and former Royal Engineer soldier in the British army from Andersonstown, was working at Corpus Christi Church when he was shot.

Fr Mullan and Francis Quinn (19) were shot in an area of open ground behind Springfield Park, while Daniel Teggart (44), Joan Connolly (44), Noel Phillips (19) and Joseph Murphy (41) were shot near the Henry Taggart Army base.

John Laverty (20) and Joseph Corr (43) were shot at separate points at the top of Whiterock Road and Edward Doherty (31) was shot at the corner of Brittons Parade and Whiterock Road.

A number of the dead were also parishioners of the church, which will also be one of the venues where relatives will be able to watch the coroner deliver her findings live from the International Conference Centre in the city centre.

The former Waterfront building - across the road from the Laganside court complex where the inquest heard evidence for almost 16 months - is now a Nightingale venue to support the courts service and will be attended by members of the immediate family of the deceased.

It will also be broadcast to family members and supporters at Laganside court 13 and St Peter's Church.