Canada

British soldiers shot dead innocent N.Irish people in 1971 incident – inquiry

BELFAST — British soldiers unjustifiably shot or used disproportionate force in the deaths of nine of the 10 innocent people killed in an 1971 incident in Belfast that sparked an upsurge of violence during Northern Ireland’s ‘Troubles’, a judge-led inquiry found.

A Catholic priest and a mother of eight who served soldiers tea during the ‘Troubles’ were among the victims in an event Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney described on Tuesday as “one of the most tragic days” of Northern Ireland’s three decades of bloodshed.

Judge Siobhan Keegan delivered her findings to applause from families of the victims shortly after the British government announced it would introduce legislation to give greater protection to former soldiers who served in Northern Ireland, plans Dublin and many in Belfast fiercely oppose.

“All of the deceased were entirely innocent of any wrongdoing on the day in question,” Keegan, the coroner for the case, concluded.

The deaths over a three-day period of disorder in the Ballymurphy area of Belfast – a sprawling housing estate of Catholics who opposed British rule – occurred in the days after the introduction of internment without trial for suspected militants triggered disorder on the streets.

Father Hugh Mullan, the 38-year-old priest who died, was helping an injured man and waving a white object before he was shot twice in the back, the inquiry found.

There was not enough evidence to say whether the army were responsible for the death of one the victims, John James McKerr, who was indiscriminately shot going to and from work. However Judge Keegan said it was “shocking” that the state did not carry out a proper investigation into the killing.

Questions also remain unanswered about the identity of the soldiers who shot many of the victims, the judge added.

No one has been charged or convicted in connection with any of the killings. The inquest was a fact-finding exercise and not a criminal trial.

Some 3,600 people were killed in the sectarian confrontation between Irish nationalist militants, pro-British “loyalist” paramilitaries and British military that largely came to an end after a 1998 peace agreement. (Writing by Padraic Halpin in Dublin, Editing by William Maclean)

Football news:

Baumgartner on Austria's playoff exit: I still can't figure it out, my head hurts a lot. But we made history
Kroos on the conversation with Ronaldo after the Euro game: I asked him how he was doing in Italy. I was happy to see you
Zinchenko on the defeat by Austria: The game in the first half was unacceptable. I don't know what to say
Matvienko on 0:1 with Austria: Ukraine couldn't play their football because of nervousness
The Netherlands won all three matches in the Euro Group for the third time. The previous case was in 2008
Andriy Shevchenko: It was physically difficult for Ukraine, we were constantly late. A lot of unforced errors is fatigue
North Macedonia lost all 3 matches at the first Euro with a goal difference of 2-8