’Murph Families to Visit America for Support
RELATIVES of those killed in the Ballymurphy Massacre are in the United States next week to lobby support for an international inquiry into the 1971 atrocity.
Three members of the families group will visit New York and Washington DC during the three day trip, beginning on Monday, where they will meet high profile political figures, including members of the Congressional Friends of Ireland Committee.
The group is chaired by influential Irish-American Congressman Richard Neal, and they will meet Ballymurphy family representatives John Teggart, Briege Foyle and Alice Harper during the DC leg of their journey.
Former Senator Ted Kennedy, who died last year, was a founder of the Friends of Ireland Committee, and it is hoped the group’s backing and support from Congressman Neal will boost the campaign for an inquiry, and a long-awaited apology from the British Government over the slaughter in which 11 locals were shot by Paratroopers.
The meeting will take place next Wednesday, while other summits are planned, including with representatives of various Irish-American organisations, including the Ancient Order of Hibernians, and Fermanagh-born lobbyist and clergyman Father Seán McManus.
They will also be meeting Ray O’Hanlon, the editor of the Andersonstown News’ sister paper The Irish Echo.
John Teggart, whose father Daniel was shot while running for cover during the three-day killing spree said the trip was about gathering support and “raising awareness” among the wider US public about the massacre.
The families believe if action had been taken against the Paratroopers in the aftermath of Ballymurphy, then Bloody Sunday, which occurred in Derry less than six months later, could have been prevented.
“The main objective of our visit to America is to lobby support,” John told the Andersonstown News.
“We want to raise awareness about what occurred in Ballymurphy during the introduction of internment, and explain our needs for this independent, international inquiry.
“We have a long way to go but our campaign remains as strong as ever, and it will not end until we have what we want, which is simply he truth.”
“We have a long way to go but our campaign remains as strong as ever…”