Ballymurphy families meet First Minister Peter Robinson

Image caption,
Soldiers clearing up in the aftermath of the Ballymurphy killings

Families of 11 people killed by the British Army in Ballymurphy in Belfast in 1971 have met Peter Robinson.

Briege Voyle, whose mother was shot dead, said the first minister had been sympathetic and respectful.

She added that he had appeared shocked at allegations there had been no proper police investigation.

The families of the victims, which included a priest and a mother-of-eight, want an independent investigation into the killings.

The 11 victims were killed in August 1971 by members of the Parachute Regiment during Operation Demetrius, when people suspected of paramilitary activity were interned.

The Army said it opened fire in response to gunfire from republican paramilitaries.

The Northern Ireland Office has ruled out any public inquiry into the killings akin to the Bloody Sunday Tribunal.

Mrs Voyle said the families appreciated the opportunity to meet the DUP leader who, they acknowledged, had "taken a risk" to meet them.

"He said he understood our pain because he had friends and family who had lost in the Troubles," she said.

"We asked Mr Robinson if he would go and have a talk with Owen Paterson and he said he would along with raising other issues for other families."

Mr Robinson said he had listened carefully to the views expressed by the families.

"Everyone recognises that that period of time in Ulster's history was very dark and there are hundreds of similar stories throughout the province," he said.

"To lose a loved one is a painful experience.

"The way in which we deal with the past requires sensitivity."

"he DUP is of the view that a further raft of open-ended, costly inquiries is not beneficial."

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