THE Ballymurphy Massacre families have welcomed news that Taoiseach Enda Kenny has agreed to meet them to discuss the families’ ongoing campaign calling for a full independent international investigation of the 1971 atrocity.
Mr Kenny briefly met the families at the Aisling Awards in November, but this will be the first official sit-down. Speaking during a debate in Dáil Éireann this week, during which former West Belfast MP and current TD for Louth Gerry Adams called on the Irish Government to prepare a detailed report on the Ballymurphy Massacre case, the Pat Finucane case and the Dublin-Monaghan bombings for presentation to British Prime Minister David Cameron, Mr Kenny said he hoped to meet the families in Belfast in June.
Mr Kenny also revealed that he raised the “sensitive issue” during a March meeting with the PM in London.
“I understand that the Ballymurphy families have been seeking an independent, international investigation into the Ballymurphy situation. I also understand that the Secretary of State, Owen Paterson, has recently advised them that the British Government does not intend to hold an inquiry into this case,” he said.
“In regard to meeting the Ballymurphy families, I do not have any difficulty with this. My preference would be to meet them in Belfast and perhaps the next time I can get a chance to go up there, hopefully in June.”
Speaking after Tuesday’s Dáil debate, Gerry Adams said: “I urged the Taoiseach to instruct his key civil servants to gather together all of the available information on the Ballymurphy Massacre case, the Pat Finucane case and the Dublin-Monaghan bombs and present it to the British Prime Minister. This was done in respect of Bloody Sunday and presented to Tony Blair and it made a difference in the decision that the British took.”
John Teggart, whose father Daniel was one of the 11 people killed in the 1971 massacre, has welcomed the Taoiseach’s comments.
Meanwhile, members of the Ballymurphy Massacre families will be travelling to Dublin tomorrow (Friday) to meet with the Irish Congress of Trade Unions.
West Belfast Sinn Féin MLA Pat Sheehan, Lagan Valley Alliance MLA Trevor Lunn and SDLP lower Falls representative Margaret Walsh will be accompanying the families.
A four-ball golf fundraiser and entertainment night in aid of the Ballymurphy Massacre families campaign will be held at the Balmoral Hotel on Saturday, May 19.
Tickets for the event, which gets under way at 8pm, are priced £10 and available from a number of outlets including the Frank Cahill Resource Centre at the Top of the Rock, Kolormaster on the Falls, or by calling Charlie Rodgers on 07855458753.