IAUC Welcomes Ballymurphy Families
The Irish American Unity Conference welcomed family members of the Ballymurphy Families Campaign to Washington DC this week. The Washington DC chapter of the IAUC hosted a forum for the Ballymurphy Families on December 7. Irish Americans from Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, and Washington packed the forum on a Tuesday evening.
Between August 9th and 11th, 1971, eleven unarmed people were killed in Ballymurphy, West Belfast, by the British Army’s Parachute Regiment. One of the victims was a Catholic priest, another was a mother of eight young children, and yet another was a father of fourteen. Over 50 children lost one of their parents.
Family members, each of whom had a parent killed in the Massacre, described the destruction of their families’ lives which resulted, and the ongoing humiliation and suffering they have had to endure. They are calling for an independent international inquiry into the 1971 horrific event. They also want the British government to issue a public apology to exonerate the names of their loved ones.
Sinn Féin Representative to the United States, Rita O’Hare noted that there has never been an impartial inquiry, and stressed the need for a Congressional hearing to raise international awareness and bring pressure for such an inquiry.
While in Washington the group will meet with Massachusetts Congressman Richard Neal, who is chairman of the Congressional Friends of Ireland Committee.
IAUC chapter president, Peter Kissel said that “the extent of intentional cruelty inflicted on the victims, and taunting of the families for their losses, is shocking. The atrocities committed by the British Parachute Regiment in Ballymurphy were barbaric by any standard of decency. These acts demand an impartial investigation.”