An Irish Embassy reception in Washington, D.C., key members of Congress, and major public events in Albany, Cleveland, Philadelphia, the Bronx, New Jersey, Manhattan, and Long Island heard Carmel Quinn's call to "stand with us" in the fight for Ballymurphy justice.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer became the first member of Congress to issue a public statement, while other representatives promised support for Ballymurphy truth.
Quinn, a sister of John Laverty, one of the 11 victims of the Ballymurphy Massacre, was in the United States along with her husband Thomas Quinn, instead of the Belfast inquest because the victims' families believe it is crucial to gain American assistance.
On Wednesday, November 14, Quinn, one of the founding members of the campaign and member of Relatives for Justice, was hosted at a reception in honor of the Ballymurphy families at the Irish Embassy. Introduced by Deputy Chief of Mission Michael Lonergan, she gave a moving description of the murder of each of the 11 victims. She also asked for the Irish government’s help.
"We would respectfully request that the Irish government consider sending an observer to our inquest. That they also ensure that the rights of Irish citizens in the North, affected by British state violence, such as we have been, are upheld and delivered on without continued delay,” Quinn said.
The reception was attended by Irish government officials, many Ancient Order Hibernians members, congressional staff, and members of the Irish American Unity Conference.
AOH National Freedom for all Ireland Chairman Martin Galvin noted, “The very fact that the Irish government would support these Irish victims of British injustice by giving them a platform and formal reception at this time is an important and profoundly welcome statement.”
Quinn followed her appeals in Philadelphia, New Jersey, and Long Island with key congressional meetings on Wednesday and Thursday of last week. Schumer met the Quinns, along with representatives of the AOH and Irish American Unity Conference and immediately issued a formal public statement.
"Justice has been too long delayed for the innocent victims of the Ballymurphy Massacre and I am proud to join today with Ms. Carmel Quinn, sister of victim John Laverty, to call for a full independent international inquiry into these unjustified killings of civilians by British paratroopers in 1971,” he said.
“I applaud the AOH for the ongoing advocacy for peace and justice in the north of Ireland and I will work with them, the Irish American community and the Ballymurphy families to advance the efforts to finally achieve justice for all the Ballymurphy victims. And we shall continue the work to build the support here in America to advance a just, inclusive and equal society throughout all of Ireland."
Other key congressional leaders who met with Quinn in Washington were Congressman Eliot Engel, under consideration for chairman of the House Foreign Relations Committee; Congressman Richard Neal, a leader and co-chair of the Friends of Ireland; and Congressmen Mike Doyle, also of the Friends of Ireland. The Ballymurphy representative met with aides for Congressmen Chris Smith, Brendan Boyle, Peter King, and Conor Lamb in Washington. She met outgoing Congressman Joseph Crowley.
Quinn noted that a congressional letter on Legacy justice signed by 16 members last April was a major boost and got pledges of more Congressional action.
She also met with key Senate Foreign Relations Committee and State Department staff. IAUC Chairman Peter Kissel attended and coordinated these meetings with Galvin and Jim McLaughlin of the AOH.
Quinn’s public events were well attended, particularly in Cleveland.