Ballymurphy relatives protest at coroner’s office

RELATIVES of the 1971 Ballymurphy shooting victims have said they were treated badly by the coroner after he suspended inquests into a number of controversial deaths.

They held a protest on Wednesday morning out outside the office of Northern Ireland’s Senior Coroner John Leckey on Wednesday morning.

Briege Voyle, whose mother Joan Connolly was one of ten people shot dead by the British Army in the west Belfast estate, said the families were angered at the suspension.

“We thing the way he has treated our families is really ridiculous, that we were never even informed,” she explained.

“Up until today we’ve not received proper information to say that our inquests have been put on hold.

“I’ve a letter here from the Secretary of State encouraging us to put our faith in our inquests. So why has he decided to do this? We’ve come here today to speak to him to ask him why.

“Our loved ones were 11 innocent people, who were murdered 41 years ago. We are entitled to the truth,” she added.

Last week Mr Leckey’s decision to put at least 14 inquests on hold was met with a legal challenge on behalf of some of the victims’ families.

In November Attorney General John Larkin had ordered fresh inquests into the deaths, but Mr Leckey said Mr Larkin may have exceeded his powers because matters of national security could be involved.

On Monday Mr Justice Treacy said the families had “comfortably surmounted” the test of establishing an arguable case and granted them leave to seek a judicial review of the adjournments.

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