I joined a cross-party delegation of Seanadóirí who attended the Belfast High Court’s sitting of the inquest into the deaths of those killed during the Ballymurphy massacre. The Seanad has played a key role in giving voice to some of the outstanding legacy issues arising out of the conflict in the North.
Today, my colleague Seanadóir Niall Ó Donnghaile and I were joined at the High Court in Belfast by Senators Mark Daly, Frances Black, Ged Nash and Frank Feighan. It is an outward sign of solidarity with the families of those murdered, who have had to wait over 47 years to have an inquest heard. In that intervening time, there have been many false starts and setbacks but I think it is important to show them, and other families waiting for inquests, that we will continue to support them in their campaign. Indeed, it was back in 2011 that the then DPP recommended that inquests be heard without delay.
I am also mindful of the many other families who have yet to hear whether inquests will be held into their loved one’s killing. The continued political uncertainty around funding for legacy issues merely adds to the injustice done to them already.
I was struck by the dignity and clarity of mind of all the families as they are set to recall traumatic and painful events. Today I listened as the family of Fr. Hugh McMullan recounted the events surrounding his killing as he went to the aid of others who were already injured or dying. We also heard from the family of 19 year old Frank Quinn who was killed.