Northern Ireland news

Former DUP councillor Graham Craig issues apology over tweet linked to Ballymurphy Massacre

Briege Voyle with solicitor Pádraig Ó Muirigh

FORMER DUP councillor Graham Craig has issued an unreserved apology and agreed to pay damages and costs for falsely suggesting a connection between the Ballymurphy massacre families and the IRA.

Briege Voyle, whose mother was among 10 people shot dead in west Belfast 50 years ago, took a libel case against Graham Craig following a post on Twitter in August 2018.

A statement from Ó Muirigh Solicitors, who represented Ms Voyle, said they had "agreed a terms-of-settlement relating to this matter to include a five-figure sum of damages in favour of our client".

"Mr Craig has also issued an unreserved apology to our client, accepting that his comments on social media were completely unfounded," it added.

The statement also included Mr Craig's apology, which states: "On August 13 2018, I published a tweet which suggested there were connections between those who represent the families of the Ballymurphy Massacre, amongst whom Briege Voyle is prominent, and the Provisional IRA.

"I now accept that this is wholly untrue. I apologise for the offence caused and I have agreed to pay her damages and costs."

Ms Voyle, chair of the Ballymurphy Massacre Committee, is donating any damages awarded in her favour to the campaign.

Solicitor Pádraig Ó Muirigh said: "Our client has been actively campaigning for the truth of what happened to her mother for 50 years.

"Throughout that period her mother and other victims of the Ballymurphy Massacre have been vilified and demonized as gunmen and gunwomen.

"Despite these unfounded allegations our client and the wider Ballymurphy families have conducted a dignified campaign to clear their loved one’s names which culminates in the Ballymurphy Inquest findings tomorrow.

"Our client, and the wider Ballymurphy Massacre families, are very well-respected members of the west Belfast community and internationally respected.

"We will take all necessary steps to vindicate our client's position in relation to any defamatory comments made against her or other.. families and will not hesitate to issue legal proceedings where necessary."

Former DUP councillor Graham Craig

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