Ballymurphy 1971

Unfortunately I cannot be in two places at the one time.
I commend the talk on The Ballymurphy Massacre on the night of 9/10 August 1971.
The talk takes place tonight in St Marys College at 7pm.
As readers will know, I lived in the area at the time of those tragic events.
Some of the ten people killed were known to me. Two were friends.
The killers…I dont hesitate to say MURDERERS were British Parachute Regiment members.
They would of course, just a few months later earn even more notoriety in Derry…Bloody Sunday.
The Derry relatives did not get any semblance of Justice until 2010, when thr civilians who died were exonerated and the murderers condemned.
The Ballymurphy Relatives still wait.
I was 19 years old when I saw and heard events unfold. I am now an old man of 61 years.
TRUTH?
I know the Truth. Everyone knows the Truth. Just like the people in Derry…in Ireland…the World knew the Truth.
Nothing will change my mind about what happened in August 1971.
But people more obviously unjustly treated deserve to be told the Truth.

I very much regret that there are TWO events tonight and I cannot be at both.
I wish the Campaign to vindicate the victims find Justice.

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11 Responses to Ballymurphy 1971

  1. Thanks is due all the more then for coming to my talk. Thanks for your question and contribution and let’s keep the association going. Good luck

  2. Political Tourist says:

    Wasn’t Stormont in charge of security at the time of the Ballymurphy murders.

    • Technically yes.
      Whatever about primacy of Police….all patrols in the 1970s the Army was everywhere. Some regiments might have tried the Hearts and Minds approach. Some might even have believed it. But that weakness was exploited.
      People like the Paras…were not Hearts and Minds people.
      I was scared stiff of them and so was everybody else.
      There is a 40 odd year experience of being afraid that makes me ashamed bto this day.
      As does the fact that on a daily basis, my feelings….hope, pride, hate, decency,shame….were in the hands of other people.

  3. sammymcnally says:

    FJH,

    Like perhaps many others I am not as familiar with the details of the Ballymurphy situation as Bloody Sunday – this perhaps relates to the fact that the IRA were exchanging fire with the army during the episode ie the soldiers were under attack – unlike in Derry where the fire was almost exclusively from the army. My instinct is to condemn the actions of the army but I wonder if there is a ‘balanced’ account of events ie an account that reviews the known facts including the number and extent of shots fired at the army? Wonder what British journos (many who condemned the army durig Bloody Sunday) have/had to say.

    • Sammy…your comment made me think.
      How is it that an event I actually witnessed registerrs less in the memory banks than events I did not witness. Why cant I point to “evidence”?
      I dont think that I have a clear answer. One factor must surely be that I was there. My friends and neighbours were there. And so maybe no need to read about it.
      And maybe I am just too scared…too shamed of being scared …to actually think too deeply about it.
      Maybe it is the nature of how things evolved.
      In 1966 I was at a Christian Brothers School being taught History.
      1688 Sarsields Ride
      1746 Culloden
      1798 Father Murphy
      1916 Pearse.
      Heroism.
      1970 St Matthews, Ardoyne, Falls Curfew….we could follow the cross-city events on our radios tuned to the Police. And how is it the BBC man at Short Strand did not mention that he Church was under attack?
      How is it that at that stage we already knew that there were lies being told and that the BBC was working for the State?
      August 1971….Internment. Reporters were what we would now call embedded. And for people in 2013, impossible to describe living in a gun battle. There had been shooting but mostly an incursion into Springfield Park by loyalists under cover of loyalist gunfire from Springmartin.
      At that stage, still daylight, I was in Moyard and could see that.
      When I got back into the house there was full scale shooting but little from Ballmurphy. Seemingly they were not in “operational mode” because of the disruption.
      Arrests and beatings under the jeering gaze of Springmartin was what I remember at 1am. And I remember the fear and shame of it all.
      Internment was a six county wide event. Reporters such as they were …were dispersed about Belfast and beyond.
      Wold it have mattered?
      Somehow the sory of the Massacre got lost in the bigger picture of Internment.
      My recollection is of Brian Faulkner, the architect of Internent being pressed by reporters on the brutal nature of its introduction….”we are British sir…we do not do that”
      Realistically the arrest of hundreds of people in dawn raids WILL be brutal.
      Maybe Ballymurphy was a step the first step in the arc of events in 1971-72 that changed me as a person.
      Ballymurphy…McGurks Bar (didnt the whole world KNOW that the victims were innocent? Yet it took four decades to vindicate them) Bloody Sunday ( more lies but in daylight and in the full glare of the TV cameras….so arrogant that they persisted with the lies for four decades)
      And the Battle of Whiterock.
      And for balance Claudy and Bloody Friday.
      A roller coaster.
      Long reply Sammy. I just dont know.
      But over the next few days, I will be following up on contacts that I made at An Feile.

      • sammymcnally says:

        FJH,

        re. “But over the next few days, I will be following up on contacts that I made at An Feile.”

        Interested in that – it is of course differnet when you are peronally close/involved – and that makes establishing the facts and considering other ‘narratives’ (to use an apalling term much in vogue) all the more difficult as it may involve stepping outside the tribal world view.

      • It will be a few days Sammy.
        what I am need is a time-line for that day.

  4. sammy, I just replied to your comment but for some reaon, the reply was not published. it was loooong. it never happens with short replies 🙂
    I will repost it later.

  5. sammymcnally says:

    Ok ta – for long posts I soemtimes copy to notepad in case it doesn post – except of course on those occasions when it actually doesn post

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