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‘Emotional’ time for ’Murph families as Jackson appears

COURT: General Mike Jackson COURT: General Mike Jackson
By Ciara Quinn

GENERAL Sir Mike Jackson, the former head of the British army and a captain with the 1st Battalion of the Parachute Regiment. will give evidence to the Ballymurphy Massacre inquest today (Thursday) at Laganside Court.
During August 1971 General Jackson’s duties included briefing the media and journalists. His account that soldiers came under attack from 20 IRA gunmen during the Ballymurphy Massacre has long been dismissed by families whose loved ones were shot dead during August 9 and 11 in that year.
Speaking to the Andersonstown News, John Teggart said it will be extremely emotional to see the “man who stood while the bodies of Joseph Corr and John Laverty were taken away to Musgrave police station”.
“This man told the Belfast Telegraph newspaper that two men, two gunmen, died in a gun battle – this is totally wrong,” said John. “There were no gunmen, no gun battle there was no ammunition found. This story was wrong then and it is wrong now. This narrative has continued all this time and Jackson will be asked why? Why keep saying this?”
Mr Teggart said that having the 75-year-old take the stand “will be a big day for the families.” “We have been working all these years to change this narrative from Jackson.
“As the inquest continues, the evidence we have heard so far as been harrowing, it’s been really hard on the families – but we are one big family down there, down at the courts. Everybody is looking after each other as this continues and that is a massive help to us all.
“We are getting through this together.”
Commenting ahead of the hearing, Pádraig Ó Muirigh of Ó Muirigh Solicitors, said: “General Mike Jackson is one of the most high-profile British Army generals since the Second World War and previously held the rank of Commander of Chief of British Land Forces.
“He transferred to the Parachute Regiment in 1970, with which he served two of his three tours of the north of Ireland. On his first tour with the 1st Parachute Regiment, he was present at Ballymurphy in August 1971 and was also an adjutant at the events of Bloody Sunday in 1972.
“A litany of murder and brutality followed the 1st Parachute Regiment during these tours, not only in Ballymurphy but on the Shankill Rd and Bogside in Derry. This Para culture has come under close scrutiny during the Ballymurphy Inquest as has the attempts by the British Army to cover up the actions of their soldiers. The court and Ballymurphy families will want to explore the role of Mike Jackson during the events of 9-11 August 1971 in Ballymurphy.”

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