The families of the 11 people shot dead plan to present the British secretary of state and Stormont justice minister with a new dossier of evidence on the killings. These killing were carried out by the same group of paratroopers, 1 Para, found guilty of the massacre on Bloody Sunday.
Next week will be the 39th-anniversary of the 1971 killings at Ballymurphy, west Belfast. The killings took place over three days after the introduction of internment on August 9, 1971.
During those three days 11 unarmed civilians, including a mother of eight and a priest were killed by paratroopers.
The group of campaigners is now calling for an independent international inquiry, along with a statement from the British government declaring the innocence of the dead, and a public apology. They are backed by the Catholic Church, Sinn Féin, and the SDLP. The Irish government contributed $26,300 towards the report.
The law firm of Kevin Winters compiled the new dossier. One of the family members, Briege Voyle, whose mother, Joan Connolly was killed, said that 100 eyewitness were interviewed.
Voyle, speaking to the Sunday Tribune said “The report will be the most definitive account yet of those three awful days in Ballymurphy…It will establish the sequence of events as they unfolded as accurately as possible, though it will contain more questions than answers.” It will include information from autopsies and analysis of forensic and ballistics reports.
The group finds solace in the fact that the campaigners and victims of the Bloody Sunday massacre have found justice however they realize that it may be a long and tough road.
“We're delighted the Bloody Sunday families have at last got some form of justice with the Saville report” said Voyle. “But we're also worried that it means we face an even more uphill battle. It's highly unlikely that having admitted to one atrocity, the British Army will quickly admit to another one."
The fact that it was the same group of paratroopers shows that Bloody Sunday was not just a once off. “It shows the paras didn't go on a one-off bender in Derry with their superiors losing control, said Voyle. “They were a killing machine, sent to give Ballymurphy a bloody nose, then sent six months later to do the same in the Bogside."
Voyle said that the deep hurt felt by the families of the victims is not only because they were killed but because their good names were marred. She said that many families of the victims were harassed by the British army after the killings. She revealed that their home was regularly raided and “The Last Post” played mockingly outside their house.
"One soldier said my mother had opened fire on him with a Browning machine gun,” said Voyle. “She was killed going to help a young lad who had been shot. My mother wouldn't have known what a Browning was. Her only vice was going to bingo.”