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Bishop airs evidence of British troops' misconduct in 1971 shootings in Northern Ireland

CWN - July 30, 2010

An Irish bishop has released a group of previously unpublished documents that point to serious misconduct by British troops in shootings that caused 11 deaths and multiple injuries in Northern Ireland in 1971.

Bishop Noel Treanor of Down and Connor said that after meeting with relatives of those who were killed or injured in the shootings that took place in Ballymurphy in August 1971, he had ordered a careful search through diocesan archives, which yielded a number of eyewitness reports on the confrontation.

“The events of those days in Ballymurphy were a disturbing prelude to the events of Bloody Sunday only six months later,” the bishop said. But the British military had never thoroughly investigated reports of misconduct, he charged: “Instead, as in Bloody Sunday, the reputations of those who were killed and injured were actively besmirched and the evidence of reliable eye witnesses was either ignored or actively discredited.”

Bishop Treanor called attention to the serious charges raised by eyewitnesses at Ballymurphy:

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