29 April 1999 Edition

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Ingram snubs Springhill massacre victims

British `victims' minister Adam Ingram has been accused of snubbing members of the Springhill Massacre Committee, who requested a meeting with him. In his reply to the group, Ingram claimed there was no need for a meeting, saying that ``all deaths... resulting from military activity are investigated''.

Ingram has also been accused of failing in his duty as victims minister, especially to victims of state and state sponsored violence.

Six people were shot dead by British paratroopers on 9 July 1972 in the Springhill area of West Belfast. At the time, the British army said they killed gunmen, claims that were dismissed by local people. Three were under 16 and another a Catholic priest. The British army's versions of events is clearly at odds with the truth.

Speaking to An Phoblacht, Martin Dudley, who was shot through the head and has suffered disability since the Springhill massacre, said: ``There has never been a real investigation. Nobody who was injured, nor the families of anyone killed, nor any local residents have ever been asked for information by any investigating team.''

Dudley said there was no evidence that on that bright summer Sunday there was any IRA activity in the area. He added that if there had been, why had nobody ever been charged. Harry Gargin, whose 13-year-old daughter Margaret was killed, also spoke to An Phoblacht and said: ``In the days following her death, British paratroopers raided my home and wrecked it in the search for incriminating evidence.''

No member of the crown forces has ever been charged with any offence in relation to the killings. None of the families have ever received autopsy reports and the clothes of those shot dead or injured that were taken for forensic testing have never been returned.

The Springhill Massacre Committee is calling for a public inquiry into the events of that day and for those killed to be cleared. They are appealing for anyone from the area, or who has moved away or who was working in Corry's timber yard from where the British army opened fire, to contact them c/o Relatives for Justice Tel: +1232 220100.

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1