Northern Ireland news

Priests who died tending to injured remembered in Ballymurphy cycle

About to set off on the Ballymurphy Cycle for Truth
Mairead Holland

A CYCLE to remember two priests killed in west Belfast in the early 1970s as they went to the aid of the injured and dying, took place yesterday.

Fr Hugh Mullan was fatally shot during the Ballymurphy massacre on August 9, 1971 while Fr Noel Fitzpatrick died in similar circumstances on July 9, 1972 during the Springhill/Westrock massacre.

Participants in the annual Ballymurphy Cycle for Truth left Springfield Park, where Fr Mullan was killed, and made their way to Portaferry, in Co Down, his home and burial place.

Nine other people died in the massacre.

In May this year a coroner found that all the victims, who died over three days following the introduction of internment, were "entirely innocent".

The British Army was found to be responsible for nine of the deaths.

In Portaferry, cyclists gathered at the graveside to remember Fr Mullan and the other victims.

Kathleen McCarry, sister of 31-year-old victim Eddie Doherty, read a prayer for the priests: "Inspired by the courageous fidelity of your priests, Fr Hugh Mullan and Fr Noel Fitzpatrick, who, in the midst of great danger, gave their lives as they ministered to the injured and dying, may we, strengthened by your word and your sacraments, love you and all our brothers and sisters, carrying each other's burdens, until we all come to eternal life."

Briege Voyle, daughter of mother-of-eight Joan Connolly who died aged 44, prayed for the victims of the Springhill/ Westrock Massacre and for their day of justice through an inquest in 2022.

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Northern Ireland news