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15 November 2012

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Coroner suspends Ballymurphy Massacre inquest

'It is disappointing that the inquests were suspended by the Coroner without any prior communication with the families'

THE SUSPENSION of the inquest into the killings of 11 people by British paratroopers in the nationalist Ballymurphy area of West Belfast in August 1971 has been criticised by the families of the victims and local Sinn Féin MP Paul Maskey.

‘The Ballymurphy Massacre’ has been called ‘West Belfast's Bloody Sunday’. Over 36 hours, between 9 and 11 August 1971, six months before Bloody Sunday in Derry, the Parachute Regiment shot dead 11 civilians in the West Belfast housing estate of Ballymurphy. Those who were killed included local priest Fr Hugh Mullan and a 45-year-old mother of 8 children, Joan Connolly.

Paul Maskey MP said that the Coroner’s decision is “obviously deeply upsetting” to the families who have been waiting more than 40 years to uncover the truth about the killing of their loved ones by the British Army.

“It is also disappointing that the inquests were suspended by the Coroner without any prior communication with the families,” and showed a lack of respect and sensitivity to the families, Paul Maksey said.

“The Attorney General’s decision to reopen the inquest was the only one feasible following the shambolic one 40 years ago which clearly covered up the true facts of the British Army’s actions on the night.”

He said Sinn Féin will continue to support the Ballymurphy families in their search for the truth.

“It is incumbent that the inquest is allowed to take place so that the facts around the massacre can be made known.”

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