Three key Congressional leaders on Irish issues, Peter King, Richard Neal and Michael Doyle, sent a bipartisan letter to British Ambassador Kim Darroch, citing the crucial implications of the Ballymurphy Inquest for all Troubles legacy issues. The three Congressmen acted after meeting Carmel Quinn during her multi-state American tour representing the Ballymurphy Campaign and Relatives for Justice. This letter is the latest sign of growing American focus on Ballymurphy, spearheaded by the Ancient Order of Hibernians, along with of the Irish American Unity Conference and Brehon Law Society.
Congressmen Peter King, Richard Neal and Michael Doyle, have long records of interest and leadership on Irish issues. They made a bipartisan call for the inquest to “be conducted thoroughly and justly to ensure that the families involved receive the answers they need.” The three Congressmen also cited concerns that the “British Ministry of Defense may be deliberately withholding crucial documents and disclosure items” and joined in expressing renewed concerns about British calls for a statute of limitations amnesty for British crown forces, previously made in an April 16th letter. (A copy of the letter, mailed on December 21st is attached. We have been given permission to release the letter Also attached is a copy of the April 16th letter to which reference is made.)
AOH Freedom-for -all-Ireland Chair Martin Galvin noted:
“These Congressional leaders on Irish issues became the latest to describe the Ballymurphy Inquest, as a ‘fundamental test of legacy justice in cases where British state forces are involved’. There is a growing recognition that if families cannot get justice where there are eyewitnesses and a Catholic priest, and grandmother among eleven victims, then no family should expect justice in cases where British forces are involved in killings.
“At a time when there is little bipartisanship on major issues in Washington, the fact that Congressmen King, Neal and Doyle could join together to support justice for Ballymurphy, shows the importance of this inquest to those truly concerned about legacy justice.
“Since the April 16th letter to the British Ambassador, a number of Tory MPs have called for a statute of limitations. As eyewitnesses give compelling testimony at the inquest, there may be mounting political pressure on the British to shield their troopers from prosecutions by an amnesty dressed up as a statute of limitations.
“The AOH believes that American Congressional scrutiny can help make a difference for Ballymurphy and all legacy victims in their long fight for truth and justice. We welcome this Congressional letter and are pledged to continue to work with Congressional leaders and other Irish American organizations in closely monitoring this inquest”.