Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald has described today’s inquest verdict as a vindication of the campaign of the families of all those killed by members of the Parachute Regiment in Ballymurphy 50 years ago.
She said, however, that today will be bittersweet as the British government will now attempt to block justice by walking away from their agreement with the Irish government on dealing with the past.
Teachta McDonald said:
“In August 1971, over a three-day period in Ballymurphy in West Belfast, 11 people were killed by members of the Parachute Regiment and, for the last five decades, the families have battled to get truth and justice.
“I want to commend them for their determination and to extend to them my solidarity and support.
“Today, after 50 years, the families have been vindicated and facts have been laid bare before the world. The families always knew the truth and people across Ireland always knew the truth and today it has been proven.
“But today will be bittersweet as the British government confirms that they will now attempt to block the families from getting justice, in defiance of an international agreement signed with the Irish government on dealing with the past.
“The Stormont House Agreement was about facilitating the pursuit of truth and justice in a balanced, transparent and fair manner.
“In February, members of the Dáil stood as one in calling for the British government to honour their commitment to introduce legislation to implement the Stormont House Agreement.
“British claims that Stormont House is not working are totally disingenuous. The reason that Stormont House is not working is because the British government have blocked it and have refused to introduce legislation to implement it. That is the problem.
“Their intention to now totally walk away from the Stormont House Agreement is totally unacceptable and it cannot go unchecked and unchallenged.
“Making agreements is important but keeping agreements is even more so. We will be raising this with the Taoiseach today, and it is critical that every political, diplomatic and legal option is now considered by the Irish government.”