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'It has taken 50 years for the truth to come out': Ballymurphy families speak out on tragedy after coroner court verdict

Carmel Quinn spoke about her experience after the massacre took place and the 50 years it took for families to be vindicated.
May 15th 2021, 1:43 PM 9,806 33

THE SISTER OF John Laverty, who was killed in the Ballymurphy Massacre in 1971, said that the shootings destroyed their lives.

Carmel Quinn, speaking to Ryan Tubridy on the Late Late Show last night, spoke about her experience after the massacre took place and the 50 years it took for families to be vindicated.

“It has taken 50 years for the truth to come out, 50 years for my brother and my neighbors to be vindicated. And that 50 years has destroyed our lives,” said Quinn.

Quinn detailed the time leading up to her brother’s death, where she left Belfast to go to the Kildare army camp, saying that they were made “refugees in our own country”.

Her brother, John, told her that everything would be okay before they left for Kildare, and Quinn says that this was the last time she ever saw him.

The Ballymurphy Massacre occurred between 9 and 11 August 1971, where 10 people were shot and killed in the Ballymurphy area of West Belfast. 

Internment was introduced on 9 August, with scores of people being jailed without trial for being suspected as IRA members.

An inquest by Belfast Coronors Court on Tuesday found that the British Army was responsible for the 10 deaths, of which a mother of eight and a Catholic priest was among.

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Apology

Families of those killed in Ballymurphy reacted angrily to a private apology by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson to First Minister Arlene Foster and Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill over the phone.

Breige Voyle, who’s mother Joan Connolly was shot and killed by a soldier, rejected the apology and said she wouldn’t think too much of a direct apology by Johnson.

“Now, I wouldn’t think too much of it because realistically he is only being told what to say, he doesn’t care about the people in the north of Ireland, we are just numbers,” said Voyle.

Johnson has since sent a letter to the families, saying that he is “truly sorry” for the events carried out 50 years ago.

With reporting by Gráinne Ní Aodha

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