• August 13, 2011


This last week has been the fortieth anniversary of the Ballymurphy Massacre, which saw the murder of eleven civilians in the Ballymurphy area of Belfast, Ireland by British troops between 9th and 11th August 1971.

Following the publication of a report yesterday that states that one of the people killed by the army during this time was innocent, the General Secretary (GS) of the League has written to the Secretary of State for Justice, Kenneth Clarke saying that it is about time that a full enquiry into the Ballymurphy killings took place.

The full text of the letter from the GS can be found below.


Dear Secretary of State for Justice Kenneth Clarke

Ballymurphy Massacre Enquiry

I am writing to you following the publication of a report by the Historic Enquiries Team (HET) that claims that one of the men killed by a soldier from the 1st Battalion, the Royal Green Jackets was innocent. Billy McKavanagh was 21 years old when he was shot in the back in Catherine Street in the Markets area of Belfast in the early hours of 11th August 2011, but to date no one has ever
been held to account for his death or an apology made.

This latest admission by the HET in their report shows that it is about time that a full enquiry is launched into the killings of eleven people in the Ballymurphy area of Belfast between the 9th and 11th August 2011. It is evident that a heinous crime took place during these first three days of the `internment without trial’ policy that was introduced by the then British Government, but unlike the enquiry that was held into the Bloody Sunday Massacre and the subsequent apology by the British Government that followed the publication of the Savillie report last year, no equivalent enquiry has ever been set up to investigate the killings of civilians in the Ballymurphy Massacre.

Despite the likelihood that the killings of the Ballymurphy civilians was carried out by some of the same soldiers as those responsible for the Bloody Sunday murders, it seems rather odd that a similar enquiry has not been carried into the killings that took place in Ballymurphy in 1971. During this fortieth anniversary year to the month of the Ballymurphy massacre, it seems an opportune
time for the Government to open an enquiry into the killings with the aim continuing with the Peace Process and the full resolution of these past conflicts.

I look forward to hearing what your position is on this matter and whether an enquiry is currently being considered.
Yours sincerely

Rhisiart Tal-e-bot
General Secretary
Celtic League

CC Mat Baggott, Chief Constable, PSNI”


This article prepared for Celtic News by Rhisiart Tal-e-bot General Secretary Celtic League. For follow-up comment or clarification contact:

Tel: 0044 (0)1209315884
M: 0044(0)7787318666


J B Moffatt (Mr)
Director of Information
Celtic League


The Celtic League has branches in the six Celtic Countries. It works to promote cooperation between these countries and campaigns on a broad range of political, cultural and environmental matters. It highlights human rights abuse, monitors all military activity and focuses on socio-economic issues.

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