UK PM apologises over verdict of Ballymurphy inquest

UK PM apologises over verdict of Ballymurphy inquest

Brandon Lewis said: "The events of Ballymurphy should never have happened, the families of those who were killed should never have had to experience the grief and trauma of that loss".

He said there was "no doubt what happened on those terrible few days in Ballymurphy fuelled further violence and escalation, particularly in the early years of the Troubles".

Criticisms intensified after Johnson's secretary of state for Northern Ireland, Brandon Lewis, read a detailed apology Thursday in the House of Commons to the relatives of 10 unarmed Catholics fatally shot in Ballymurphy, west Belfast, over a three-day period in August 1971.

John Teggart, whose father was killed at Ballymurphy, said the government's public apology should have come from Johnson.

I want to acknowledge the bad hurt that has been caused to the families of Francis Quinn, Father Hugh Mullan, Noel Phillips, Joan Connolly, Daniel Teggart, Joseph Murphy, Edward Doherty, John Laverty, Joseph Corr, and John McKerr.

The events at Ballymurphy should never have happened.

This evening, Sinn Féin justice spokesperson Martin said Mr Johnson needs to make his apology directly to the victim's families.

"It should have been done right - we deserve that".

Lewis said soldiers at times had "made awful errors", but the government wanted people seeking the truth about killings to gain this information "with far less delay and distress" than criminal prosecutions would afford.

"The Prime Minister apologised unreservedly on behalf of the UK Government for the events that took place in Ballymurphy and the huge anguish that the lengthy pursuit of truth has caused the families of those killed", a spokesman for Johnson said following a call between the prime minister and Northern Ireland's First and Deputy First Ministers. They should not have had to wait this long for details about the events that unfolded between 9 - 11 August 1971.

The coroner's indictment of the Army's actions and efforts to depict most of the dead as IRA members led to agreement that a significant injustice had been committed.

The nine men and one woman were killed over three days, shortly after the British Government introduced internment without trial in the North.

Tory MP Tobias Ellwood, who said served in Northern Ireland, paid tribute to the armed forces and said that when "standards fall", they should be investigated.

There was not enough evidence to say whether the army were responsible for the death of one the victims, John James McKerr, who was indiscriminately shot going to and from work.

Misinformation had circulated in the years since that those shot dead in Ballymurphy had been terrorists, but their names have now been cleared - 50 years on.

"In light of these findings and the strong criticisms, they will be pushing on with that", Padraig O Muirigh said.

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