Mark Durkan calls for Ballymurphy killings inquiry

Irene Connolly with a portrait of her mother Joan who was killed by the Army at Ballymurphy in 1971 Irene Connolly with a portrait of her mother Joan who was killed by the Army at Ballymurphy in 1971

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The circumstances surrounding the killing of 11 people in west Belfast almost 40 years ago have been debated in the House of Commons.

A Catholic priest and a mother-of-eight were among those killed by the Parachute Regiment in Ballymurphy in August 1971.

Foyle MP Mark Durkan called for an independent international investigation into the killings.

The families have also called for an apology from the British government.

Speaking during the Westminster debate, Mr Durkan, the former SDLP leader, said the killings "were not investigated by the RUC because that was not the done thing".

He said the "families want to see this properly probed' and he added that they were "denied the sense of solidarity from the state that other victims got".

In response, Northern Ireland Office minister Hugo Swire said the government had previously expressed sympathy to the Ballymurphy families.

He praised the work of the Historical Enquiries Team who are investigating the killings.

Mr Swire added that "the past can not be addressed by focusing solely on one case".

The shootings took place during the Army's Operation Demetrius, during which people suspected of paramilitary activity were interned.

The victims' families have been carrying on a campaign for an independent investigation into events surrounding the killings.

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