A PROMINENT victims' campaigner whose mother was killed during the 1971 Ballymurphy Massacre has won a libel case against a former DUP Councillor.
Solicitors representing Briege Voyle, whose mother Joan Connolly was shot dead by British soldiers during the Ballymurphy Massacre, had initiated legal proceedings against former Belfast City Councillor Graham Craig over a tweet sent in August 2018.
Mr Craig had responded to a tweet in support of the Ballymurphy families from Alliance Councillor, Sorcha Eastwood, whom he falsely branded a “mouthpiece for the Provisional IRA”.
His tweet made a clear and wholly false and defamatory connection between the Ballymurphy Massacre families and the Provisional IRA.
Last year, Mr Craig was ordered to pay damages to Ms Eastwood and issued an unreserved apology, accepting that his comments were completely unfounded and compromised her security.
This afternoon, Ó Muirigh Solicitors confirmed that Briege Voyle would receive a "five-figure sum of damages" as part of agreed terms-of-settlement.
Mr Craig has issued the following unreserved apology to Mrs Voyle, accepting that his comments on social media were completely unfounded.
“On August 13 2018, I published a tweet which suggested there were connections between those who represent the families of the Ballymurphy Massacre, amongst whom Briege Voyle is prominent, and the Provisional IRA. I now accept that this is wholly untrue. I apologise for the offence caused and I have agreed to pay her damages and costs”.
The settlement comes just a day ahead of the delivery of inquest findings in the case of 10 of the civilians who were killed by the British Army’s notorious Parachute Regiment in Ballymurphy during a 36-hour period in August in 1971.
Mrs Voyle will be donating any damages awarded in her favour to the Ballymurphy Massacre campaign, which she chairs.
Her solicitor, Pádraig Ó Muirigh, commented: "Our client has been actively campaigning for the truth of what happened to her mother for 50 years. Throughout that period her mother and other victims of the Ballymurphy Massacre have been vilified and demonized as gunmen and gunwomen.
"Despite these unfounded allegations our client and the wider Ballymurphy families have conducted a dignified campaign to clear their loved one’s names which culminates in the Ballymurphy Inquest findings tomorrow.
"Our client, and the wider Ballymurphy Massacre families, are very well-respected members of the West Belfast community and internationally respected. We will take all necessary steps to vindicate our client’s position in relation to any defamatory comments made against her or other Ballymurphy Massacre families and will not hesitate to issue legal proceedings where necessary."