Mark Laggan posted this message on Facebook in the 50th anniversary of the Ballymurphy Massacre and asked for it to made public.
Now we see the very reason there can be no amnesty for British troops who have served in Ireland during the Troubles. Fifty years it has taken to uncover the truth around what happened in Ballymurphy in August 1971. Fifty years it has taken for ten innocent people to actually be found innocent and fifty years of the Ballymurphy families relentlessly striving for the truth to be told.
For those who don’t know what the Ballymurphy Massacre was, it was a series of incidents between the 9th and 11th of August 1971, in which the 1st Battalion, Parachute Regiment of the British Army killed ten civilians in Ballymurphy, Belfast, as part of Operation: Demetrius which was essentially ‘internment without trial’.
The soldiers from the 1st Battalion, the British Parachute Regiment were firing from the roofs of houses on the Loyalist Springmartin Road. Shooting at innocent people, shooting at Priests, shooting at people carrying children. Why should British soldiers be allowed to get away with killing innocent people? They used an old sniper tactic of luring people into a kill zone by shooting someone, then leaving them wounded, waiting for others to come to their aid at which time the soldiers would shoot them too.
There were some absolutely disgusting reports surrounding the aftermath of the Massacre. Alice Harper, daughter of Danny Teggart, went to the army base to see if there was any information on where her father was, only to hear the soldiers singing “Where’s your poppa gone, Where’s your poppa gone”. A year after the Ballymurphy Massacre, Paddy Doherty, son of Eddie Doherty, after being protected from the painful truth of his father’s death by his mother, was out on the street one day when a Parachute Regiment patrol drove by and began singing the same words and laughing when they saw him. Paddy remembers one specific soldier was laughing so hard, the spit flying from his mouth as he sang. He said he could see the hatred in his eyes. What a way to find out your father had been shot dead a year earlier.
The army put out statements to the media after the massacre had taken place, that they had come under fire from “snipers” from within the Ballymurphy estate, which, they claim, is the reason they opened fire…now known to be a complete and utter lie. The army didn’t even know how many people they had shot at or how many were killed.
There were people like Joan Connolly, who was left dying in the Manse Field overnight with a bullet wound to her face. Eye witnesses told of how Joan cried out for help for many hours before she finally died. Joan was eventually removed from the field at around 02:30am on the 10th of August. Autopsy reports state that Joan had been repeatedly shot and eventually bled to death. Independent medical assessments secured by the Ballymurphy legal team, dictated that Joan, had she received medical attention would have survived her wounds. She wasn’t given that chance. Eight children left without a mother.
In the aftermath of the Ballymurphy Massacre there was an ‘agreement’ between the RUC and the British army in the North that any further investigations into lethal force killings by the army would no longer be handled by the RUC but by the Royal Military Police (RMP) which meant that the RUC would not be able to fully investigate any killings carried out by the army in the North. Not that they ever really did when it came to the army or more specifically British army killings of Catholics and Republicans.
All the people killed in Ballymurphy between the 9th and 11th of August 1971 were innocent, every last one of them. None of them were a threat and not one of them was carrying a weapon, so why were they shot? We all know why – they were almost all Catholics. They lived in a Nationalist and Republican area which made them, at least in the eyes of the Parachute Regiment, legitimate targets. Almost all of the ten shot dead were running to help someone else who had been shot. It’s a sad indication of the free rule the British army actually had in the North and the cover up which continues to this day. Locked files, burned files, destroyed files and lies by so-called ‘brave’ British soldiers…all to hide the death and misery caused by Britain and her armed forces in a country they should never have been in.
Rest in Peace:
- Francis Quinn.
- Father Hugh Mullan.
- Noel Phillips.
- Joan Connolly.
- Daniel Teggart.
- Joseph Murphy.
- Edward Doherty.
- John Laverty.
- Joseph Corr.
- John James McKerr.
12th May 2021