Boris Johnson has 'apologised unreservedly' on behalf of the UK Government for the Ballymurphy Massacre.
Downing Street said the British Prime Minister made the apology in a call with Northern Ireland’s First Minister Arlene Foster and Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill this evening.
“The Prime Minister apologised unreservedly on behalf of the UK Government for the events that took place in Ballymurphy and the huge anguish that the lengthy pursuit of truth has caused the families of those killed,” Downing Street said in a statement.
However, it noted that he also restated his ambition to deliver a way forward in the North that, “focuses on reconciliation, delivers for victims of the Troubles and ends the cycle of reinvestigations.”
Mr Johnson has said he aims to table legislation that will introduce an amnesty for crimes committed during the Troubles.
The plan, protect both soldiers and paramilitaries on both sides of the dispute has been heavily criticised by victims – with the SDLP labelling it a ‘betrayal of the peace process.’
Downing Street said Mr Johnson “stressed the importance of working hard to keep the gains made through the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement and of all parties doing their utmost to help the victims’ families find out what happened to their loved ones, so that future generations are not burdened by the past.”
"Insult to the families"
On The Hard Shoulder yesterday, John Teggart, whose father Daniel was murdered in the Ballymurphy Massacre, said the families will “totally oppose” any amnesty.
This evening, he said it was an "insult to the families" that Mr Johnson’s apology came in a conversation with others and called on him to make a public apology.
Briege Voyle, whose mother Joan Connolly was murdered in the massacre, said the apology “means nothing.”
“We need him to go back to the Ministry of Defence and tell them to tell the truth, tell our legal team the names of the soldiers who murdered our loved ones and ask them why," she said.
She said it would have been “at least been a bit more respectful” if the British Prime Minister had made his apology in the House of Commons.
She said his attempt to do it over a private phone call with politicians was “trying to push it under the carpet.”
This evening, Sinn Féin justice spokesperson Martin said Mr Johnson needs to make his apology directly to the victim’s families.
“The first thing he needs to do is he needs to make a public apology,” he said.
“Where he comes out and addresses the families, reflects on what has happened; reads the full report and understands the impact this has had on these families and on the communities in which they lived.”
Mrs Justice Siobhan Keegan found that the ten people who were shot dead in Ballymurphy in 1971 were entirely innocent and killed without justification.
The nine men and one woman were killed over three days, shortly after the British Government introduced internment without trial in the North.
The victims include Father Hugh Mullan, 38, and Francis Quinn, 44 who was shot when he went to the priest’s aid.
Four people died in the second incident – 19-year-old Noel Phillips, 44-year-old mother of eight Joan Connolly, 44-year-old Daniel Teggart and 41-year-old Joseph Murray.
Edward Doherty, 43, John Laverty, 20, and Joseph Corr, 43 were the last three victims.
Mrs Justice Keegan also found the tenth victim, John McKerr, to be an “entirely innocent man”; however, she said it was impossible to say where the shot that killed him came from or who fired it.
She also found an 11th victim, Paddy McCarthy who died of a heart attack while he was being shot at, innocent of any wrongdoing.
Additional reporting IRN