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Thousands take part in ‘truth’ march

Some of the marchers in Belfast on Sunday


By Anthony Neeson

Thousands of people marched to Belfast City Hall on Sunday demanding the truth about their loved one’s deaths during the Troubles.

Speaking at the “Time for Truth” rally Sinn Féin leader in the North, Michelle O’Neill, assured those gathered that funding would still be forthcoming for legacy inquests despite the collapse of the Stormont talks.

Some of those who walked to Belfast city center were relatives of those who died in the Loughinisland Massacre, the Ballymurphy Massacre as well as those who died in the McGurk’s Bar bombing.

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Addressing the crowd Briege Voyle said: “My mother, Joan Connolly, was murdered during the massacre of eleven people by the British Parachute regiment in Ballymurphy between the 9th and 11th August 1971.

“She was a wife, a mother of eight children and grandchildren. She was 44 years old. She is my hero, but instead of being remembered as a hero she has been labelled a gunwoman.

“My mammy went to the aid of a young man who had already been shot in the back then she was shot and how personal could they get when they shot my mammy on a bright summer’s night, they blew the side of her face off and blinded her right away and left her to lie in that field for at least four to five hours afterwards as she bled to death.

Voyle added added: “The British government and the media branded our loved ones as gunmen and gunwomen, like those murdered on Bloody Sunday.

“We now know it was the same parachute regiment that killed our loved ones in the streets of Ballymurphy and Derry – also on the Shankill Road in 1972.”

Sinn Féin MLA Gerry Kelly called on the British government to release funding for legacy inquests.

"Today, thousands of people stood in support of the families and victims, some of whom have been waiting over forty five years for truth and justice,” he said.