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Ballymurphy Massacre Inquest Daughter gives emotional account of mother's death at Ballymurphy Massacre inquiry

DAUGHTER of Ballymurphy Massacre victim Joan Connolly has given a detailed and emotional account of her mother who was killed at the hands of British soldiers in Belfast nearly 50 years ago

Briege Voyle released her statement as the inquiry continues into the deaths of 10 people, slain in a three-day killing spree in the Ballymurphy area of west Belfast in August 1971.

She told of threats made by British soldiers who on two occasions pointed at loaded rifles telling Ms Connolly they had a bullet especially for her after they were challenged about their presence in Ireland.

Ms Voyle explained they were “not a Republican family. We were not anti-British or anything like that.”

Her sister Denise was married to a soldier and Ms Connolly was not afraid of British troops.

“Mum was a quiet homely woman. She has been painted as an antagonist. However I think the reason she was out banging bin lids and protesting in general was because she was showing that she was against certain behaviours being portrayed by soldiers; not the soldiers themselves. “

Many women were involved in the practice of banging bin lids and using whistles, a tactic used to alert the local community when British soldiers arrived in the community and to show displeasure.

“Also because Denise was married to a soldier she may have wanted to show the community that she was not supportive of the way the community was being treated at that time by soldiers,” she said.

Today’s hearing allowed civilian witnesses to give their account of the killings.

The families have pursued a dogged 40-year quest for justice for their relatives, many of whom were smeared as terrorists.

Ms Connolly is believed to have been shot by three different soldiers.

Reports claim she could have survived if she received medical attention sooner, however her body was left in a field for hours.

After the death of Ms Connolly, her husband and family reported that they were harassed, berated and tortured on a regular basis by the same army which murdered her. 

British soldiers seemed to take great pleasure as they sang the Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep song, which included the words “where’s your momma gone.”

Ms Voyle said her mother “never had a fear of the British Army. Although she didn’t approve of their behaviour and treatment of the local people I don’t think she believed they would actually harm her. She believed the state would protect her.”


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