Northern Ireland

Ballymurphy families walk out of Brokenshire talks

John Teggart
Image caption John Teggart said the Ballymurphy families were deeply disappointed by the Northern Ireland Secretary's response

The angry relatives of 10 people killed by soldiers in Ballymurphy in 1971 have walked out of a meeting with the Northern Ireland secretary.

The Ballymurphy families represent 10 people killed in west Belfast as the government introduced internment - imprisonment without trial.

They walked out of a meeting with James Brokenshire on Monday.

They had urged him to release funds for inquests into the shootings.

"My father was murdered, he was shot 14 times when he was defenceless as he lay on the ground," said John Teggart.

"I will continue to campaign but I am really disappointed with how things went. I thought better with the new secretary of state."

Image caption Ten people were shot dead in west Belfast in the three days after internment was introduced in 1971, in what the bereaved families refer to as the Ballymurphy Massacre

Red herring?

Mr Teggart said the families had told the secretary of state what happened to their loved ones and how they had been campaigning.

"We had asked about funds for the legacy inquest, but he refused to answer," he said.

"We asked him to release funds out of the £150m set aside by the British government to deal with the legacy of the past. He refused to answer questions on that. He batted it back and put it back to the executive.

"We walked out because he was going around in circles and refused to answer questions."

Mr Teggart said that referring the matter back to the Executive was "a red herring".

He insisted that funds should be released.

"It is not just the Ballymurphy families. It is ourselves, Kingsmills, the RUC widows - All our hurt is the same. We are campaigning for the same thing. It is up to the British Government to release the funds."

Image caption Martin McGuinness said the British Government should release funds for the inquests

Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness said: "The legacy aspect of the Fresh Start agreement is one that is continuing to exercise all of use, but more importantly the families of victims. I am hoping that the last piece of the jigsaw can be put in place," he said.

"I do believe there is a huge responsibility on the British government to stop using the delays of others on the issue. They should fund those inquests as requested by the Lord Chief Justice.

"This is a big issue, these people have waited for 45 years and I think it is only right that the British government take up their responsibility."

Ten people were shot dead in west Belfast in the three days after internment was introduced, in what the bereaved families refer to as the Ballymurphy Massacre.

A priest and a mother of eight were among the civilians killed by the Parachute Regiment.

An 11th person died of a heart attack after a confrontation involving a soldier.

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