Troops Out Movement
Annual Bloody Sunday March
The annual Bloody Sunday March
For Justice will take place on Sunday 2nd February 2014. Assemble
Creggan Shops At 2.30pm. All inclusive and all welcome.
Ballymurphy Massacre Film
The multiple award-winning documentary
on the Ballymurphy Massacre is now available to view on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KOR0Ppfba_Q
McGurk's Bar Campaign
The critically acclaimed book,
The McGurk’s Bar Bombing: Collusion, Cover-Up and a Campaign
for Truth, has sold out its first print run and has just been
released for download via Amazon’s
Website: The McGurk's Bar Massacre
Victims and survivors who have suffered injuries during the conflict have come together to launch the Campaign for Recognition petition.
Those behind the initiative will be actively campaigning for all victims to ensure equal recognition and inclusivity for those that suffered injury during the conflict.
Supported by West Belfast-based Relatives for Justice, Deputy Director Andrée Murphy explained how many victims have felt left behind and marginalised due to their injuries.
“I received an email from Jennifer McNern, she was just 21 when she lost both her legs in the 1972 attack on the Abercorn Bar, and along with some friends and other injured parties have set up the initiative to raise awareness of the injured of our conflict.
“Due to Jennifer’s role on the Victims Forum she has been consistently active on the issue. The Injured Group that meets at the WAVE Trauma Centre have set up the petition but those supporting it come from all over the North.
“These people have long-term
needs that are very practical and universal, no matter what background
you come from, no matter how you sustained your injuries, these are
needs, real needs that must be addressed.
“The injured have often been overlooked during debates on victims needs and dealing with the past where the emphasis has been on those who have suffered bereavement.”
“These are people that are amputees, have suffered brain damage, hearing loss, sight loss, they need access to services, wheelchairs, prosthetic limbs and hearing aids. There needs to be a way that they can access these expeditiously rather than be made to feel like beggars,” she said.
Andrée said that the Stormont Executive must factor in the needs of the long-term injured “of our conflict into their action plans”.
“That must include the benefit
system, the roads service, all departments.
“Once it is completed the petition will be brought to the office of First and deputy First Ministers so that a comprehensive victims needs strategy should be put in place which acknowledges the needs of the injured.
“The issue of accessibility for victims must be addressed and not sidelined or pushed into corners of general statutory departments,” she said.
“I would urge people to sign the petition online and in the new year there will be visits to West and North Belfast to further highlight the need for recognition for these injured victims.
“RFJ would encourage people who have been injured during our conflict, or their carers, who may wish to know more about the campaign or to get involved in it, to contact our Falls Road office.”
Support the Eleven Families Affected by the Ballymurphy Massacre
Below is a link to an online petition which goes directly to 10 Downing Street.
It is vital that those at the heart of the British government hear from all those concerned that the murders of 11 civilians by the parachute regiment six months before Bloody Sunday were carried out and remain covered up (see our State Murder page for more information).
Please support the families' call for an independent investigation and statements of acknowledgement and apology from the British government.
Please sign the following petition:
DEMAND THE TRUTH NOW!
What can we do to support the Ballymurphy families?
Theresa Villiers, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Northern Ireland Office, 11 Millbank, London SW1P 4PN e-mail: email@example.com
Your own MP, House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA www.writetothem.com
Recently Updated Campaigns
Out Movement Campaigns
Massacre Relatives at Trade Union Conference
Two relatives of those murdered by the British army in the west Belfast area of Ballymurphy were campaigning in Blackpool last weekend.
The Ballymurphy Eleven were murdered during the first three days of Internment in August 1971 by the 2nd Battalion of the British army’s Parachute Regiment.
This same regiment went on, five months later, to murder fourteen civilian demonstrators in Derry in what was to become known as Bloody Sunday.
No-one was ever brought to justice for the murder of the Ballymurphy Eleven and the massacre didn’t attract the media focus of Bloody Sunday, where the victims were shot down within a forty minute killing spree and in full view of the world’s media.
The Ballymurphy Massacre victims were killed over a three-day period in their own area.
After the massacre, the British army labelled its victims as armed terrorists. There is not, and never was, a scrap of evidence to support the British army’s claim and it is, and has always has been, abundantly clear that all of the victims were unarmed civilians.
Their relatives are calling for truth and justice.
Irene Connolly is the daughter of Joan Connolly, a mother-of-eight who was shot eight times while helping another shooting victim.
Eileen McKeown is the daughter of Joseph Corr, a father-of-seven who was shot while walking with his son and who died two weeks later.
They were guests at the Annual Conference of Trades Union Councils and were urging support for a motion backing their campaign for an independent investigation into the killings. The motion, which was originally proposed by Coventry Trades Union Council, was put on the agenda by the West Midlands County TUC.
Irene and Eileen spoke at a fringe meeting and the delegates were so moved by their story that they negotiated for Irene to speak to the main conference.
After she addressed the main conference, Irene was given a standing ovation and the delegates unanimously voted in support of the resolution calling for a fully independent investigation into the killings.
It is vital that the Ballymurphy Massacre is inquired into through a fully independent investigation.
The families have said they will not accept an inquiry under the Inquiries Act 2005, which would be controlled by agencies of the British government (whose army carried out the atrocity).
Under the Inquiries Act 2005:
Coventry Trades Union Council became involved in the Ballymurphy Massacre Campaign as a result of one of their members attending the Troops Out Movement’s Annual Delegation to Belfast and have given tremendous support to the campaign since then.
The member stayed with one of the families of the Ballymurphy Eleven during the delegation and went on to invite campaign members to travel to Coventry to tell their story. As a result of this the families have taken the campaign into the wider trade union movement.
At the end of the Trades Councils
Conference the TUC agreed to write to all Trade Unions urging support
for the Ballymurphy Massacre Campaign and to lobby MPs and MEPs.
Sunday Remembered in the English Midlands
The Troops Out Movement, which campaigns for British withdrawal from Ireland, held its annual Bloody Sunday Remembered meetings in the Midlands last week. The 1992 BBC film by Peter Taylor Remember Bloody Sunday was shown and the main speaker was Cahil McElhinny, whose brother Kevin was shot dead by British soldiers on Bloody Sunday, 30th January 1972.
The families have suffered 38 years of loss with no government acknowledgement of the truth of that day.
Peter Taylor’s film Remember Bloody Sunday shows the horrific reality of what happened on the day of the massacre. It shows the lengths the British army went to trying to cover up their atrocities, the stunned disbelief of the people of Derry out on a fine day to protest about Internment and the shock and disbelief of the relatives who lost their loved ones. It shows the outrageous arrogance of senior army officers refusing to admit they did anything wrong and the honesty of one sergeant major seriously critical of the army actions and attitudes.
It also exposes the original Widgery Tribunal for the pack of lies it was.
Interestingly in the film Colonel Derek Wilford refers to “normal operations of war”, “act of war” and “..... end the war in Ireland”. When did the British government admit that they were at war in the Six Counties? Their army spokesman exposed the British lie of its motivation for being in Ireland. It certainly wasn’t peacekeeping as the British people were told.
Cahill went on after the film to speak of the Saville Inquiry and the relatives’ frustration at the lack of progress with publication of the report.
It is over five years since the end of the Inquiry. The relatives have been told that the report is at the printers and has to be proof read three times. They have been told that it should be released in March, but of course, if the Prime Minister announces the date of the General Election it will then be shelved and the Tories have said that they will bury the report as it has cost far too much already.
The high cost of the Saville Inquiry is because the British authorities told lies in the first place.
Lies and cover ups are what have cost millions, truth costs nothing.
Cahil spoke of the British army’s destruction of the rifles used on Bloody Sunday just days before the Inquiry started. No-one has been charged with perverting the cause of justice.
Cahil also spoke to remind us of the Ballymurphy Massacre when eleven people were shot dead during the first three days of internment in August 1971. If the British authorities had dealt with this atrocity, carried out by the same soldiers who went on to commit the murders in Derry, maybe Bloody Sunday would never have happened.
Cahill was also a guest speaker at the Annual General Meeting of Wolverhampton Trade Union Council where he was very well received. Mary Pearson of the Troops Out Movement had spoken on the Saville Inquiry at Birmingham TUC the previous week.
The Troops Out Movement would like to thank Cahil and the other relatives of Bloody Sunday for keeping us continually updated on the progress (or otherwise) of the Saville Inquiry and extend our solidarity greetings to their anniversary events.
fight for independent inquiry
Watch recording of US congressional hearing
The son of murdered North Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane last week told a US congressional hearing that his family will accept nothing less than a full, public and independent inquiry into his father's death.
Speaking in front of the American government's sub-committee on international organisations, human rights and oversight John Finucane said his family would never accept any kind of "charade" brought under the British government's restrictive 2005 Inquiries Act.
A public inquiry into Pat Finucans's murder was recommended initially by Peter Cory, former justice of the Supreme Court of Canada who was tasked by the British and Irish governments to look at controversial killings.
In 2003 he recommended a public inquiry into the North Belfast solicitor's death should be held but quickly afterwards, the British government announced that a new law was required.
In 2004 the then British Secretary of State for the North Paul Murphy told the Finucane family the inquiry would come under the Inquiries Act because "much of the material that would have to be examined in this inquiry is highly sensitive to national security issues. For example many of the operational techniques that would be discussed in the inquiry would be used currently in the war against terror."
Those techniques were confirmed as collusion by former Commissioner of the London Metropolitan Police Lord John Stevens.
"The Inquiries Act 2005 prevents any inquiry from acting independently," John Finucane said.
"It forces the tribunal, no matter how independent, credible or reputable its Chairpersons, to comply with decisions made by government ministers. My family is against holding an inquiry into my father’s murder under the Inquiries Act because we will not participate in a charade.
"We want what we asked for and what was agreed between the British and Irish governments in 2001 - an independent, public, judicial inquiry, composed of international judges that are in no way associated with Britain or the British government.
"This is important, not just to my family, but society as a whole, in Ireland and internationally, because it would instil confidence in the inquiry, its work and its conclusions.
"A whitewash would do more harm than good.
"The circumstances surrounding the murder of Patrick Finucane are about much more than the killing of one man.
"They represent simply the best-known case of what could have happened to anyone and what did happen to many.
"The thing I want most of all is to know the truth about my father’s murder. If the British government is serious about resolving the situation in Northern Ireland for good and building a lasting peace, then all we ask is this one simple thing. They cannot give me back my father; the least they can do is tell me the truth."
TOM Action Alert - Repeal the The Inquiries Act 2005
"By proposing to hold an inquiry into the Finucane case under The Inquiries Act 2005, the UK government is trying to eliminate independent scrutiny of the actions of its agents. Any judge sitting on such an inquiry would be presiding over a sham." Amnesty International.
Human rights lawyer Pat Finucane was shot dead in his home in Belfast on 12th February 1989 by loyalist paramilitaries. In the aftermath of his killing, prima facie evidence emerged of criminal conduct by the RUC and British military intelligence agents acting in collusion with loyalist paramilitaries in his murder. Different British government agencies and authorities have subsequently covered-up their part in the murder.
In April 2004, an independent report commissioned by the UK and Irish governments concluded that "only a public inquiry will suffice in Patrick Finucane's case".
Instead of heeding the report's recommendation, and in the face of strong criticism and opposition, the UK executive railroaded the Inquiries Bill through parliament and managed to have it passed as legislation. The Inquiries Act 2005 came into effect on 7th April 2005 - the last possible day before parliament was dissolved on the 11th in readiness for the forthcoming general election on 5th May.
Any inquiry, held under the new Act, would be controlled by the executive which, under it, is empowered to block public scrutiny of state actions. It will affect not only Patrick Finucane's case, but also other major incidents which would warrant public scrutiny of the actions of the state, such as failures of public services, deaths in prisons, rail disasters and army deaths in disputed circumstances.
According to Amnesty International: "The Inquiries Act 2005 undermines the rule of law, the separation of powers and human rights protection. It cannot be the foundation for an effective, independent, impartial or thorough judicial inquiry in serious allegations of human rights violations. Nor would it provide for public scrutiny of all the relevant evidence.
"The Inquiries Act 2005 deals a fatal blow to any possibility of public scrutiny of and accountability for state abuses. Any inquiry under this legislation would automatically fall far short of the requirements in international human rights law and standards for effective remedies for victims of human rights violations and their families. One of the first tasks of the new UK Parliament should be to immediately repeal the Act.
"Once again, Amnesty International calls on the UK authorities to immediately establish a truly independent judicial inquiry into collusion by state agents with Loyalist paramilitaries in Patrick Finucane's murder; into reports that his killing was the result of state policy; and into allegations that different government authorities played a part in the subsequent cover-up of collusion in his murder."
In May 2002, the UK and Irish governments appointed Justice Peter Cory, formerly a Judge in the Canadian Supreme Court, to investigate a number of killings in which official collusion was alleged, including the killing of Pat Finucane.
In April 2004, the UK authorities published Justice Cory's report but refused at that time to announce a public inquiry into Pat Finucane's case.
Instead of announcing a public judicial inquiry under the Tribunals of Inquiry (Evidence) Act 1921, the British government eventually announced that it would introduce new legislation under which an inquiry into the Finucane case would be established.
There was no consultation prior to the publication of the Bill. The new Inquiries Act 2005 repeals the Tribunals of Inquiry (Evidence) Act 1921.
Under the new Act:
Lord Saville, Chair of the Bloody Sunday Tribunal of Inquiry, pointed out that the Inquiries Act 2005 "makes a very serious inroad into the independence of any inquiry and is likely to damage or destroy public confidence in the inquiry and its findings".
Lord Saville also said: "As a Judge, I must tell you that I would not be prepared to be appointed as a member of an inquiry that was subject to a provision of this kind."
Judge Peter Cory, with specific reference to the possibility of an inquiry into the Finucane case held under the Inquiries Act 2005, stated: "It seems to me that the proposed new act would make a meaningful inquiry impossible."
What can you do?
Write to David Cameron, Owen Paterson and your own MP to demand the repeal of the Inquiries Act 2005 and a full Independent Public Inquiry into the death of Pat Finucane - and encourage others to do so.
Theresa Villiers, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Northern Ireland Office, 11 Millbank, London SW1P 4PN e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Your own MP, House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA www.writetothem.com
11 Relatives Campaign in England
The Ballymurphy 11 were murdered during the first three days of Internment in 1971 by the 2nd Battalion of the British Army’s Parachute Regiment. This same regiment went on, 6 months later, to murder fourteen civilian demonstrators on Bloody Sunday in Derry.
Two daughters of the Ballymurphy 11 were in Birmingham and Coventry for International Women’s Day events from Thur 5th – Sun 8th March. They were the guests of Coventry Trade Union Council and the Troops Out Movement.
Alice Harper is the daughter of Daniel Teggart, father of thirteen, murdered on 9th August. He was shot 14 times. Briege Voyle is the daughter of Joan Connolly, who was also murdered on the 9th August. She was the mother of eight, shot whilst helping another victim Noel Phillips aged 19.
All the victims were labelled by the British Army as terrorists with guns. There is not, and was never, a scrap of evidence to support this.
All of the victims were unarmed civilians and the relatives want truth and justice.
The first engagement for the guests was with the Birmingham Trade Union Council. They were the main speakers at the monthly delegates meeting. A serious debate followed their talk. The council was very sympathetic and will be writing to Shaun Woodward supporting the campaign’s demands:-
On Friday they did a recorded interview on Birmingham community radio station Unity Radio 82.5FM ( http://www.unityfm.net/) which will be broadcast at 5pm on Thursday 12th and 19th March. The evening was spent as guests at Birmingham’s meeting of Britain Palestine Twinning Network Women’s Visit. The main speakers were Palestinian women Zahida Farakhnah and Nagham Madi. The discussion and contributions brought out the similarities between the struggles for a free Palestine and a free Ireland. Although the scale is far greater in Palestine the issues are identical in both examples of colonisation - cold-blooded killings by state forces, walls being built to separate communities, roadblocks and check points, arbitrary arrests, serious consequences of children and youths stone-throwing, disproportionate number of prisoners, holding without trial and excessive sentencing.
Saturday was a very full day. It began at the launch of Coventry’s Women’s Festival where, at a non-political event, they were given a platform to speak just before the Irish Dancers. They had an amazing reception with many coming up afterwards to give hugs and ask for the information leaflets. They then went onto a special meeting of Coventry Trades Union Council called in honour of the Ballymurphy 11. This was as a result of their delegate hearing the story of the Ballymurphy Massacre during the Troops Out Movement’s annual delegation to Belfast. A very wide-ranging discussion ensued and commitments were made by the trade unionists to take up the campaign and do everything possible in support.
Next stop was the International Women’s Day event at Birmingham’s Drum, Black Arts Centre. Alice and Briege were welcomed alongside a Palestinian women's delegation from Gaza, a progressive Jewish/anti-Zionist voice and speakers on black women's history. We have since received a thank you letter from the organisers saying that many had said they learned so much and that the discussion was excellent.
The final event on Saturday was a dinner and musical entertainment in support of Music for Hope, a Birmingham-based charity which provides communities in El Salvador with musical instruments and pays the salaries of five music teachers. Alice and Briege were the interval speakers. Again they received a tremendous reception with pledges to support the campaign.
Sunday 8th March, International Women’s Day itself, saw Alice and Briege at an informal lunch time get-together of local Birmingham activists. It gave the opportunity to discuss in more detail the specifics of the Ballymurphy case and what the Troops Out Movement and others can do to support the relatives and take the campaign forward. Emphasis was put on pressurising Shaun Woodward, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland to have an independent, international, investigation into the case, as a British government inquiry would not be independent.
Relatives are certain that an independent investigation would lead to the victims of the massacre being declared innocent, not gunmen/woman, and an apology would have to be forthcoming.
There were also proposals to put pressure on Bob Ainsworth, the Armed Forces Minister, to make his department’s papers available to relatives. Someone in the army and government knows what happened. It was also agreed to lobby MPs to support the call for an investigation by letter-writing and lobbying their surgeries.
The main success of the speaking tour was that the message of the Ballymurphy Massacre Campaign was heard by people who would not normally come out to hear speakers about Britain’s role in Ireland. New audiences were informed and new support won.
The Troops Out Movement would like to thank Alice and Briege for their wonderful and moving presentations and all the Ballymurphy 11 relatives for allowing their stories to be told. We would also like to thank Coventry Trades Council for initiating the speaking tour, everyone in Birmingham and Coventry who gave the women a platform and those who gave donations towards the expenses.
Briege Voyle and Alice Harper in Coventry
RIR March of Shame Video
The Youtube video of the recent RIR's march of shame and the sectarian abuse and attack on the victims of British state violence by unionists/loyalists can be viewed here.
Comes to England
Grandson of Collusion Victim in England as Guest of the Troops out Movement
Just two weeks after the PSNI released a report by their Historical Enquiries Team (HET) on the McGurk’s Bar Bombing in 1971, the grandson of Phillip Garry, who was one of the victims, was campaigning in England.
Robert McClenaghan was representing An Fhirinne (The Truth), an organisation of relatives of people murdered by loyalist paramilitaries where there is evidence of collusion between the paramilitaries and British state forces.
An Fhirinne and other relatives’ organisations are calling for an Independent International Truth Commission into the slaughter of their loved ones. They believe that a British government inquiry could not possibly be independent - and neither could a government of Ireland one, as they have done little to uncover the truth of killings in the twenty-six counties.
Expressing no confidence in British investigative procedure Robert McClenaghan said: “The HET is about the police investigating the police. A report into the McGurk’s bombing was published by the HET two weeks ago. It is, as we suspected, a review of existing material rather than a new investigation.”
Robert was in four English cities as a guest of the Troops Out Movement (TOM), the British-based organisation which campaigns for British withdrawal from Ireland. During his presentations he showed a very harrowing video of relatives speaking of their murdered loved ones. It showed to people in England the reality of what was done in their name.
In August last year members of the Troops Out Movement met with Robert and Séamus Finucane, brother of Pat, the human rights solicitor murdered by a loyalist death squad in collusion with British security forces. The meeting was part of TOM’s annual delegation to Belfast and they pledged support for the relatives’ demands:-
Robert spoke of many of the collusion cases and made clear the relatives’ demands: “We are not talking prosecutions and revenge here, we want the justice of truth. Following any trauma, health professionals and counsellors speak of those affected needing closure. How can our families get closure without truth?”
The tour started in the North West with Robert speaking in Liverpool and Manchester. In Manchester he presented a video and written material produced by An Fhirinne and Relatives for Justice to the Irish archive at the Working Class Movement Library. He went on to lay flowers at the Manchester Martyrs’ monument and at their grave. He continued on to the Midlands and spoke at meetings in Nottingham and Birmingham.
At the public meeting in Birmingham’s Council House, Mary Pearson, secretary of the Troops Out Movement, pointed out that the atrocities were carried out in the name of the people of Britain, who had in fact paid the wages of the those who had colluded with the murderers. She said that there was a responsibility on everyone there, and everyone who knew about the collusion. to use the moving video to raise the issue in communities, trades unions and with the political parties and representatives. She referred to the government’s reluctance to hold inquiries because of claims they are too costly. Mary pointed out that it is the cover-ups which cost millions - the truth costs nothing.
The meeting was also addressed by Louise Kilbride and Maureen Russell of the Telling Tales Theatre Group. They spoke on another collusion case, that of the murder of Patrick Shanaghan, about which they have written and performed a play “Stepping Out of Line”. They performed songs from the play at the meeting.
In Birmingham Robert also met Irish community representatives and was interviewed live for a full hour on the Unity FM Community Radio. He so impressed the presenter that he recorded Robert speaking on the history of the conflict in the north of Ireland for a programme which will go out on Thursday July 3rd 5pm and can be heard outside Birmingham at www.unityfm.net. The Harp free newspaper serving the Irish community interviewed him for their July edition. He also met members of the Asian community, one of which offered to put leaflets in his shop.
The tour culminated in Liverpool on Saturday 28th June at the James Larkin Society’s march and rally. The event was to commemorate the 100 years of the Irish Transport & General Workers Union (now SIPTU). Robert was the main speaker and gave a strong speech on Larkin as well as the demand for truth and justice about collusion.
The Troops Out Movement would like to thank Robert for informative and moving presentations during the speaking tour, and all the relatives of collusion victims for allowing their stories to be told. We would also like to thank everyone in England who supported the tour and gave donations towards expenses. We can assure the relatives that we will continues to work for truth and justice for the victims of collusion and demand an Independent International Truth Commission.
Patrick Shanaghan was murdered by the UFF/UDA in collusion with the RUC 17 years ago today.
The native of Aghyaran, Castlederg, County Tyrone was 31-years-old when he was shot dead on his way to work on 12th August 1991. The killing followed 6 years of constant harassment from the Crown Forces, being assaulted and threatened with death on numerous occasions.
Patrick, who stood as a Sinn Féin candidate in the 1989 local elections, was also told by the RUC that his personal details were in the hands of unionist paramilitaries after a photomontage was lost from a British army vehicle.
The assault rifle used by the gunman in the killing was part of a huge haul of weaponry brought into Ireland from South Africa in 1988 by unionist paramilitaries with the assistance of several British military agents and intelligence operatives.
Patrick's relatives and friends accused the RUC of colluding in the young man's death. At an inquest into the killing, held in 1996, RUC members called to give evidence could not account for the strange activities of several of their members immediately after the shooting.
A lawyer for the Shanaghan family accused the RUC of preventing medical treatment for the victim after the shooting. The Shanaghan family's lawyer walked out of the hearing after he was refused permission to submit a dossier of evidence relating to the killing.
An independent public inquiry was held the same year at Castlederg, presided over by the Honourable Andrew I Somers Jr, an American legal expert, who concluded: "I have never seen a case where all the evidence loudly points to one conclusion: Patrick Shanaghan was murdered by the British government and more specifically with the collusion of the police. I would not hesitate to indict members of the RUC from top to bottom."
In May 2001 the European Court of Human Rights found the British government in breach of Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights by failing to hold a proper investigation into the killing. The Shanaghan case was one of twelve taken to Strasbourg against the British government.
The European ruling added impetus to the Shanaghan family's call for an independent public inquiry into Patrick's death. Unfortunately, the British government changed the law in 2004 following Canadian Judge Cory's recommendation that there should be public inquiries into certain deaths where collusion is evident. There are now no independent inquiries. They are all now in the hands of the British minister for the north, currently Shawn Woodward.
The families of collusion cases are now calling for Independent International Investigations.
What can we do?
Ballymurphy Eleven Women in Speaking Tour of England
Guests of the Troops Out Movement
Two daughters of the Ballymurphy Eleven were speaking in England recently calling for an Independent International Investigation into the slaughter of their relatives and nine others by British soldiers in 1971.
Alice Harper and Briege Voyle were in six English cities as guests of the Troops Out Movement, the English-based organisation which campaigns for British withdrawal from Ireland.
The Ballymurphy Eleven were murdered during the first three days of Internment by the 2nd Battalion of the Parachute regiment. This same regiment went on, six months later, to murder fourteen civilian demonstrators on Bloody Sunday in Derry.
Alice Harper is the daughter of Daniel Teggart, a father of eight who was murdered on 9th August. He was shot fourteen times. Briege Voyle is the daughter of Joan Connolly, who also died on the 9th August, a mother of eight who was shot while helping another victim, 19-year-old Noel Phillips.
No-one was ever brought to justice for murdering the Ballymurphy Eleven and they have never had the focus of the Bloody Sunday victims. The Bloody Sunday victims were shot within forty minutes in full view of the world's media. The Ballymurphy victims were killed over three days in their own area. The families have now come together to demand justice.
Members of the Troops Out Movement heard the relatives of all eleven victims tell their stories in August last year whilst on their annual delegation to Belfast. The Movement then pledged support for the relatives' demands:
Briege and Alice made it clear that: "We want truth and justice, not vengeance and revenge"
The tour started in the North West with Alice Harper speaking in Liverpool and Manchester. The Liverpool meeting was hosted by the James Larkin Republican Flute Band. Audiences were seriously moved by Alice's story.
Alice was then was joined in Nottingham by Briege Voyle, adding breadth to the story. At every meeting they made sure the audience knew the details of all eleven killings. They also showed an exhibition of dramatic black and white photographs, taken by Jonathan Porter, of members of each family holding a portrait of their murdered loved one in their own homes or at the place the person was killed.
The next three days were spent in Birmingham and Coventry. At the public meeting in Birmingham's Council House, Alice and Briege were joined by Cahil McElhinney, brother of Kevin, who was murdered by the same British Paratroopers in Derry on Bloody Sunday. He drew the direct parallels between the Ballymurphy Eleven and the Bloody Sunday victims. All were innocent civilians, murdered in cold blood but branded as gunners and bombers. All were violently treated before and after death. It was evidence of the British soldiers' - and therefore the British government's - abject contempt for the nationalist community of the six counties.
Also on the platform in Birmingham was Moazzam Begg, a former Guantanamo detainee. He drew the parallels of the Irish people's experience with the current experience of the Muslim community in Britain. They also are labelled as suspect terrorists by the establishment in Britain. Moazzam said how pleased he was to be at the meeting with Cahil as he had opened the Bloody Sunday Museum in Derry with Cahil's father Laurence McElhinney, who is sadly the only surviving parent of the Bloody Sunday victims.
Mary Pearson, Secretary of the Troops Out Movement, pointed out that both atrocities were carried out in the name of the people of Britain, who had in fact paid the wages of the soldier murderers. She said that there was a responsibility on everyone there and everyone who knew about the Ballymurphy massacre to raise the issue in communities, trades unions and with the political parties and representatives.
Also in Birmingham, Alice and Briege met with a number of community representatives, members at the Central Mosque, workers from the Federation of Irish Societies, a representative from Birmingham's Irish Community Forum and people at the Unity FM Community Radio where they did an hour-long live programme.
The Coventry Trade Union Council also held a meeting with members of various trade unions and former MEP and human rights activist Christine Oddy. The Transport and General Workers Union opened it's facilities and provided refreshments. Everyone who met Briege and Alice said they would do everything in their power to take the issue further.
The tour culminated at the Annual Bloody Sunday event in London organised by the Wolfe Tone Society. Again they were joined on the platform by Cahil McElhinney, and also by Jennifer McCann, Sinn Féin MLA for West Belfast.
The Troops Out Movement would like to thank Alice and Briege for their wonderful and moving presentations during the speaking tour; all the Ballymurphy Eleven relatives for allowing their stories to be told, and Relatives for Justice for their support in enabling the tour to go ahead. We would also like to thank everyone in England who supported the tour and gave donations towards expenses.
The second in the series of Occasional Papers, entitled 'The Development of 'Non-Lethal' Weapons During the 1990's' (March 2007), is now available to download from the website of the Bradford Non-Lethal Weapons Research Project (BNLWRP) Department of Peace Studies, University of Bradford, UK.
See also new research on injuries resulting from AEPs (the new plastic bullets) from the Emergency Medicine Journal
An Cumann Cabhrach
The Republican Aid Committee
An Cumann Cabhrach, the aid committee for the relief of republican prisoners and their families, was recently rejuvenated by the election of a new Officer Board and Honoury Vice President, Annie Cahill, wife of the late Joe Cahill. Joe played a pivotal role in An Cumann Cabhrach over the years and the Central Committee is delighted to still have the Cahill name associated with the organisation.
An Cumann Cabhrach was founded in 1953, with its first convention held in Liberty Hall, Dublin in 1975. Over the past three-and-a-half decades of armed conflict in the North, thousands of people were incarcerated and An Cumann Cabhrach has raised funds and looked after the welfare of republican prisoners and their families throughout Ireland.
With the emergence and development of the Peace Process, kick started and sustained by IRA initiatives, the situation in relation to political prisoners changed dramatically. Some prisoners however are still serving sentences and it is essential their welfare and that of their dependents is catered for. The work of An Cumann Cabhrach is not over.
Another important aspect to the work of the organisation is the financial assistance it provides to the widows and children of Ireland's patriot dead.
There are some 300 names on the Republican Roll of Honour. Republicans, young, old, men and women who gave their lives for Irish freedom. Some were married and left partners and children behind. Financial aid for is an ongoing requirement for the widows of republicans who died in the course of the freedom struggle, and for the number of republican prisoners we still assist today.
An Cumann Cabhrach could not have survived as a prisoners' aid organisation without the generosity of republicans over the past 30 years. It still has a job to do, but without financial assistance it cannot carry on. An Cumann Cabhrach is appealing to republicans to give generously as they always have.
An Cumann Cabhrach
Donations can be sent to
Annie Cahill, c/o PO Box,
10016, Dublin 14
Cumann na Fuiseoige CLG
Cumann na Fuiseoige is the first GAA club to be formed in Belfast area for a number of years and on Saturday 23rd October 2004 the club was officially launched at 11.00am at Scoil na Fuiseoige in Summerhill Road, Twinbrook, by President of the Ulster Board of the GAA, Micéal Greenan, along with Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams.
For over six months now community activists have been working towards the establishment of ‘Cumann na Fuiseoige’. There are somewhere in the region of 30,000 people living in the Colin area, which we believe is our natural catchment area. A very high proportion of these are young people. In the early stages of establishing this club, our present committee sat down and discussed what the type of club we wanted, its identity and ethos. We wanted to establish a club which had an identity that we could be proud of. We are based in the Greater Colin area. Our members come from Twinbrook, Poleglass and Lagmore areas. It was no hard task to look to Bobby Sands, who came from this area, as a role model for our children. It was as a tribute to Bobby that we chose the symbol which has come to represent him, the Lark, to represent us. Our club badge, the Lark and the H-Block, is one we will wear with pride.
Cumann na Fuiseoige, as a club is only beginning. Having fulfilled all the criteria set for us by the GAA we are now in a position to formally launch the club. In the short space of time the club has been going we have established links with local schools and are now training kids in local schools, as well as our twice weekly training session at Brook Activity Centre in Twinbrook. Our players are all between the ages of seven and fourteen. It is on these footballers, boys and girls from this area that we intend to build. Too often the young people of our communities are seen as a drain, a problem and not an asset. We do not share this view. Youth has always been our strength - and the future of this community, and all of communities, lie within their hands.
We do have plans for our future. We shall establish ourselves as a club, which through hard work, will excel at all levels of football, hurling, camogie and handball. Some day we will have our own pitches and clubrooms. But that is for the future. For now, we are content to build on what is important – the young people of these areas.
It is not uncommon in any sort
of activity to encounter negativity, but in the course of establishing
Cumann na Fuiseoige, we are delighted to say that we have received
nothing but good will, support and encouragement from all quarters.
Many people within GAA circles, particularly the Antrim County Board
and local GAA clubs, individual players, as well as local community
leaders and business people have assisted us. We would like to thank
these people for their help. In particular, we wish to say a special
thanks to Brendan McKee of Saveways Supermarket, whose generosity
in sponsoring us has allowed us to kit out our teams in our own colours.
Finally we want to thank the young people of the Colin area and their
families for their support and encouragement. We all know what future
the children of this area need and Cumman na Fuiseoige will play its
part in realizing it.
If you would like to make a donation to Cumann na Fuiseoige please send a cheque to:
Pictures from Troops Out Movement delegations to Belfast and Derry, as well as the 30th anniversary commemoration of the death of Mayo Hunger Striker Frank Stagg at HM Prison Wakefield, can be viewed here