Bally Murphy Relatives at Trade Union Conference.
Two relatives of people killed by the British Army in the Ballymurphy Massacre were campaigning in Blackpool at the weekend. Irene Connolly is the daughter of Joan Connolly, mother of eight, shot eight times whilst helping another victim. Eileen McKeown is the daughter of Joseph Corr (43), father of seven, shot whilst walking with his son and died two weeks later.
The daughters were guests at the Annual Conference of Trades Union Councils. They were urging support for a motion backing their campaign for an independent investigation into the killings. The motion was put on the agenda by the West Midlands County TUC, originally proposed by Coventry Trades Union Council.
They spoke at a fringe meeting organised by Coventry. Delegates at the fringe meeting were so moved by the Ballymurphy story that they negotiated for Irene Connolly to speak to the main conference. She was given a standing ovation and the delegates went on to unanimously support the resolution for a full independent investigation into the killings.
The relatives will not accept an inquiry under the Inquiries Act 2005. It would be controlled by the British Government and therefore not independent as British soldiers, carried out the atrocity.
Ballymurphy is a housing estate in West Belfast. The Ballymurphy 11 were murdered during the first three days of Internment, August 1971, by the 2nd Battalion of the British Army’s Parachute Regiment. This same regiment went on, 5 months later, to murder fourteen civilian demonstrators on Bloody Sunday in Derry.
No one was ever brought to justice for murdering the Ballymurphy 11 and they have never had the focus of the Bloody Sunday victims who were shot within 40 minutes in full view of the world’s media. The Ballymurphy victims were killed over 3 days in their own area.
All the victims were labelled by the British Army as terrorists with guns. There is not a scrap of evidence to support this. All of the victims were unarmed civilians and the relatives want truth and justice.
Coventry Trades Union Council became involved in the Ballymurphy Campaign as a result of one of their members attending the Troops Out Movement’s Annual Delegation to Belfast. They have given tremendous support to the campaign since.
The delegate stayed with one of the families and invited campaign members to come over to Coventry to tell their story. As a result of this they have taken the campaign into the wider trade union movement. At the end of the Trades Councils Conference the TUC agreed to write to all trades unions urging support for the Ballymurphy Campaign and to lobby MPs and MEPs.
Irene Connolly and Eileen McKeown expressed their appreciation for the work the Troops Out Movement have done in highlighting the case in England over the last three years.
Troops Out Movement ~ Campaigning for British Withdrawal from Ireland
PO Box 1032 Birmingham B12 8BZ Tel: 0121 773 8683 Mob: 0797 017 4167