Northern Ireland

Enda Kenny meets Ballymurphy families in Belfast

Relatives of those shot dead iby soldiers in Ballymurphy in 1971
Image caption Ten people were shot dead in west Belfast in the three days after internment was introduced in 1971, in what the bereaved families refer to as the Ballymurphy Massacre

Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister) Enda Kenny has met families of civilians who were killed by soldiers in Belfast over a three-day period in 1971.

The shootings, in which 10 people were killed, took place in Ballymurphy as the government introduced internment - imprisonment without trial.

The families met Mr Kenny as part of their campaign for justice.

Speaking after he said: "There is a sense of injustice among this community that needs to be dealt with."

"It's as raw as can be," he added.

Mr Kenny said there were a number of options to address the issues, including a "Hillsborough-type investigation", a coroner's inquest, an all-party motion in the Dáil (Irish parliament) and legislation arising from the Stormont House Agreement.

John Teggart, whose father Daniel was killed in the shootings, said: "It is good that he (Mr Kenny) has shown the way forward. This is the way a government should deal with the past."

West Belfast MP Paul Maskey, who also attended the meeting, said it had been "very useful".

Kingsmills meeting

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Media captionEnda Kenny laid flowers at the site in Ballymurphy where the shooting took place in August 1971

On Thursday, Mr Kenny met the families of 10 Protestant men murdered by the IRA at Kingsmills, County Armagh, in 1976.

After that meeting, the taoiseach said his government would do all it could to ensure information it had on atrocities committed during the Troubles was passed on so those responsible could be brought to justice.

Mr Kenny has held meetings with both the Ballymurphy and Kingsmills campaign groups before in Dublin, but this is the first time he has met the families in Northern Ireland.

In January 2014, the taoiseach supported the Ballymurphy families call for an independent inquiry to be established into the Army killings, and told the relatives he would raise the matter with British Prime Minister David Cameron.

Civilians shot

Ten people were shot dead in the area in the three days after internment was introduced, in what the bereaved families refer to as the Ballymurphy Massacre.

A priest and a mother of eight were among the civilians killed by the Parachute Regiment.

An 11th person died of a heart attack after a confrontation involving a soldier.

The Ballymurphy meeting is the latest in a series of engagements in Northern Ireland.

On Thursday evening, the Kingsmills relatives said Mr Kenny had given them an undertaking that the Irish government would cooperate fully with the Northern Ireland coroner's inquests into their loved ones' murders.

The inquests are due to open later this year and concerns have been raised about delays in handing over information to the coroner.

Ulster Unionist MLA Danny Kennedy, a long-time supporter of the Kingsmills campaign, welcomed the taoiseach's assurances as "significant progress".

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