Carmel Quinn, a sister of John Laverty, one of the 11 victims of the 1971 Ballymurphy massacre, will commence a five-state American tour as the inquest into the murders opens in Belfast.
“The Ballymurphy massacre families need American help in their 47-year battle for justice,” Quinn said.
Her tour follows attacks by 150 Tory MPs and British Prime Minister Theresa May aimed at discrediting investigations of British forces for Troubles killings in the north of Ireland. A founding member of the Ballymurphy Massacre Campaign and a member of Relatives for Justice, Quinn will ask for American help at public events and Congressional meetings in a tour organized by the Ancient Order of Hibernians and Relatives for Justice, but now assisted by a growing list of Irish-American groups.
Since August 1971 the Ballymurphy families have said that 11 people, including Catholic priest Father Hugh Mullan, and mother of eight children Joan Connolly, were murdered over a three-day period. The British whitewashed these murders by smearing the victims.
These families want their loved ones exonerated by an inquest with eyewitnesses and cross-examination of anyone claiming these killings were justified. They have met with repeated delays, jibes about "innocent victims" from Democratic Unionist Party leader Arlene Foster, and the deliberate cutoff of inquest funding.
Last week 150 MPs called for an end of former British troopers being "hounded and pursued" by murder investigations, and May praised the “heroism” of British crown forces who "upheld the law."
While not specifically referring to Ballymurphy, such claims may impact an inquest considering whether British forces upheld the rule of law by 11 murders.
AOH Freedom for All Ireland chair Martin Galvin added, “The Ballymurphy massacre is a fundamental test of Britain's ability to give legacy justice. If victims cannot get justice where 11 people, including a Catholic priest and mother of eight children, were killed by British troops, how can we expect justice in any killings or collusion murders where British forces were involved?
“AOH national Vice President Danny O'Connell and national secretary Jere Cole recently promised the Ballymurphy families that America would stand behind them in their battle for justice. We are committed to keep that pledge.”
Quinn's first public address will take place in Philadelphia on Sunday, November 11 at the FOP Lodge 5 Ballroom, 11630 Caroline Road, Philadelphia, at 3 p.m., organized by Gerry McHale and Pearse Kerr. Call 267-767-7854.
On Monday the 12th, she will speak in New Jersey at the Bayshore Catholic Center, 12 Route 36, Middletown at 7 p.m., organized by Sean Pender, Malachy McAllister, and Rich O'Brien. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Tuesday the 13th, Quinn will be at the Suffolk County AOH Division 2 Hall, 27 Locust Avenue, Babylon, Long Island at 8 p.m., hosted by New York State AOH President Victor Vogel and County President Jerry Belmont. Email email@example.com.
Quinn will travel to Washington DC for a series of Congressional briefings on Wednesday the 14th and Thursday before returning to New York City for an event at O'Lunney’s, 145 West 45th Street, on the 15th. She will speak in Albany on Friday the 16th at the AOH Hall, 375 Ontario Avenue where the prestigious Father Murphy award will be presented.
The Midwest will host her Saturday the 17th, at the Cleveland West Side Irish-American Club, 8559 Jennings Road Olmstead Turnpike, organized by Danny O'Connell, Marilyn Madigan and Roger Weist. Call 216-235-1551.
Quinn will be honored with Congressman Joseph Crowley and Irish Echo editor Ray O'Hanlon at Rory Dolan's, on Sunday, November 18 by the Bronx County AOH at 3 p.m., hosted by Bob Nolan. Call 347-880-1403.