The Ballymurphy Massacre families are deeply disappointed at the decision of the British Secretary of State, Owen Paterson, to refuse to establish an Independent Investigation into the circumstances of the Ballymurphy Massacre on 9 – 11 August 1971 where 11 Innocent civilians lost their lives.

At a meeting with the families in October 2010, Owen Paterson made a commitment to us that he would make a decision on this issue in early 2011. The delay and manner of his response is totally unacceptable and disrespectful to the families.

Mr Paterson in his letter has stated that “it would not be in the public interest” that an Independent Investigation be established. We refute this assertion and believe that it is clearly in the “public interest” that the full facts relating to the circumstances of the deaths of our loved ones and the role of the British Parachute Regiment is fully established. This is especially given the recent finding of Lord Saville in relation to the events of Bloody Sunday and the disclosure of official British Government documents which reveal evidence of immunity for British Soldiers involved in the murder of innocent civilians.

We also refute the suggestion by Mr Paterson that existing processes such as the HET will fully answer the families concerns in relation to these tragic events. The Ballymurphy Massacre Families have no confidence in the HET, especially in light of the recent revelations of Dr Patricia Lundy in relation to the HET’s conduct of their review of Royal Military Police Investigations into British Army killings in the early 1970’s.

Although the families regard the re-opening of the inquests by the Attorney General as a very important step on our journey for truth we believe that even a fully resourced and effective inquest will have limitations. It will be able to provide facts and gather crucial forensic, logistical and witness testimony evidence, but it will not be able to examine the causes, context and consequences of the Massacre and answer so many of the questions that must be answered. WE BELIEVE THAT ONLY AN INDEPENDENT INVESTIGATION CAN FACILITATE THE DISCOVERY OF THE FACTS AND PROVIDE AN ACCURATE HISTORICAL ACCOUNT OF THE EVENTS OF AUGUST 1971 ON THE STREETS OF BALLYMURPHY.

Today we call on the British Prime Minister, David Cameron, to meet directly with the families to discuss the Terms of Reference for an Independent Investigation. We also call on the Taoiseach, Enda Kenney, to show the same leadership on this issue as he has shown in relation to the campaign by the family of Pat Finucane for a Public Inquiry.

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