Carmel Quinn (right) with her sister Rita Bonner hold photos of their brother John.
By Irish Echo Staff
Stating that the Ballymurphy Massacre families need American help in their forty seven year battle for justice, Carmel Quinn, a sister of one of eleven victims, John Laverty, will begin a five state American tour as the massacre inquest opens in Belfast.
The tour follows attacks by 150 Tory MPs and British Prime Minister Theresa May aimed at discrediting investigations of British forces for “Troubles” killings in the north of Ireland, said a statement issued by Quinn’s Ancient Order of Hibernians hosts.
A founding member of the Ballymurphy Massacre Campaign and member of Relatives for Justice, Quinn will ask for American help at public events and congressional meetings in a tour organized by the AOH and Relatives for Justice, and now assisted by a growing list of Irish-American groups.
Since August 1971 the Ballymurphy families have asserted that eleven people, including Catholic priest Fr. Hugh Mullan, and mother of eight children Joan Connolly, were murdered over a three day period.
“The British whitewashed these murders by smearing the victims. These families want their loved ones exonerated by an Inquest with eyewitnesses and cross-examination of anyone claiming these killings were justified. They have met with repeated delays, jibes about ‘innocent victims’ from DUP head Arlene Foster, and the deliberate cutoff of Inquest funding,” said the AOH statement.
And it added: “Last week 150 MPs called for an end of former British troopers being ‘hounded and pursued’ by murder investigations, and Theresa May praised the ‘heroism’ of British crown forces who ‘upheld the law.’ While not specifically referring to Ballymurphy, such claims may impact an Inquest considering whether British forces upheld the rule of law by 11 murders.”
AOH Freedom for All Ireland Chair Martin Galvin added: “The Ballymurphy Massacre is a fundamental test of Britain’s ability to give legacy justice. If victims cannot get justice where eleven people, including a Catholic priest and mother of eight children were killed by British troops, how can we expect justice in any killings or collusion murders where British forces were involved?
“AOH National Vice-President Danny O’Connell and National Secretary Jere Cole recently promised the Ballymurphy families that America would stand behind them in their battle for justice. We are committed to keep that pledge.”
Ms. Quinn’s first public address will take place in Philadelphia on Sunday, November 11 at the FOP Lodge 5 ballroom, 11630 Caroline Road beginning at 3 p.m. The event is organized by Gerry McHale and Pearse Kerr, phone (267)767-7854.
On Monday, November 12, Quinn will speak in New Jersey at the Bayshore Catholic Center 12 Rt. 36, Middletown at 7 p.m. This is organized by Sean Pender, Malachy McAllister and Rich O’Brien. ([email protected]).
On Tuesday, November 13, Quinn will be at the Suffolk County AOH Division 2 Hall, 27 Locust Avenue, Babylon, at 8 p.m. this being hosted by New York State AOH President Victor Vogel, and County President Jerry Belmont. ([email protected]).
Ms. Quinn will travel to Washington, D.C. for a series of congressional briefings on Wednesday, November 14 and Thursday the 15th before returning to New York City for an event at O’Lunneys, 145 West 45th street on the 15th.
She will speak in Albany on Friday, November 16 at the AOH Hall, 375 Ontario Avenue, Albany where the prestigious Fr. Murphy award will be presented.
The Midwest will host her on Saturday November 17th at the Cleveland West Side Irish-American Club, 8559 Jennings Road Olmstead Turnpike, organized by Danny O’Connell, Marilyn Madigan and Roger Weist. (216-235-1551).
She will return to New York to be honored alongside Congressman Joseph Crowley and others at Rory Dolan’s in Yonkers on Sunday November 18. The event is being organized by Bronx County AOH and begins at 3 p.m. It is being hosted by Bob Nolan at (347)880-1403.