John Bruton says he wears an extra large poppy to make up for his countrymen who refuse to wear one. pic.twitter.com/xXzUpiKBs9— Dr Harold News (@DrHaroldNews) November 6, 2022
Callum Macrae (@Callum_Macrae) Tweeted: TODAY(28/7/21) @ 9.35pm RTE are showing “Massacre at #Ballymurphy” a 90min TV special version of my film “The Ballymurphy Precedent”. Please try to watch to understand the true horror of these killings & the need for justice. https://t.co/senGLRCgnc @ballymurphy11 @FinucaneCentre https://twitter.com/Callum_Macrae/status/1420297418508279808?s=20
The failure to release secret files relating to the death of 15-year-old Paul Whitters was raised during a discussion at the Gasyard Féile this week.
Paul, from Belview Avenue, died in April 1981, after being shot with a plastic bullet fired by an RUC officer. His family have been told classified documents held by the National Archives in England will not be released until 2059, nearly a century after he was killed.
This week during a Féile discussion writers Anne Cadwallader and Margaret Urwin said the Whitter files were among hundreds being held from the public.
“Files being left closed for decades after they should have been opened and others that have either been destroyed or well hidden from our eyes in secret dumps around England. Files that are closed for far, far longer than should be including those relating to the killing of Julie Livingstone, a 14 year old child killed by a plastic bullet in 1981, and Paul Whitters, a 15-year-old child also killed by a plastic bullet in 1981.
“Both these files have been closed for another 40 to 50 years,” she said.
Ms. Cadwallader asked Margaret Urwin, author of ‘A State in Denial: British Collaboration with Loyalist Paramilitaries’ whether she believed that when researchers inquired when a file was going to be opened ‘the response from officialdom in London is to close it even longer’.
Ms. Urwin replied: “You have not overstated this at all. Hundreds of files are closed for anything up to 100 years and some that may never be opened at all in the National Archives in Kew. For example, files on UDR battalions, files on British Army tours, all closed from between 84 and 100 years. A few of them are open but many, many of them are closed.”
Members of the Whitters family have demanded that files relating to Paul’s death in Great James’ Street almost 40 years ago be released immediately. In June the ‘Journal’ reported his sister Emma Whitters’ plea: “As the youngest in the family, I’ll be 76 years old before this file is opened. I’d like to know why.”
The Pat Finucane Centre which hosted this week’s panel discussion has been leading the campaign to have the files released.
Two months ago Foyle MP Colum Eastwood raised the matter with the Secretary of State Brandon Lewis at Westminster.
He asked: “Does the Secretary of State agree that there is no good reason to keep those files closed, and will he now act to allow the parents of those children to see the files?”
Mr. Lewis replied: “I have enormous sympathy for those families who lost loved ones – especially children, which is a tragedy, during the troubles. The files mentioned by the hon. Member are currently held by the National Archives and were closed to protect the privacy, health and safety of individuals named in those files.”
With many thanks to the: Derry Journal and Kevin Mullan for the original story
A SUGGESTION that the families of two young teenagers murdered by plastic bullets in 1981 (the year the 10 men died on hunger-strike) including Bobby Sands.
Should use the Freedom of Information (FoI) request to access files on their deaths has been dismissed as “unacceptable”. SDLP leader Colum Eastwood raised the cases of Paul Whitters (15) and Julie Livingstone (14) with Secretary of State Brandon Lewis in the House of Commons yesterday. Paul Whitters was murdered in Derry in April 1981 while Julie Livingstone, was murdered in Belfast the following month.
Government files relating to their killings have been reclassified and closed until 2059 and 2064 respectively despite appeals by their families for access. The family of Julie Livingstone said the decision that no-one who knew the teenager personally would be alive when the file was opened. At Secretary of State’s questions yesterday, Mr Eastwood told Mr Lewis there was “no good reason” to keep the files closed and asked: “Will he now act to allow the parents of those children to see the files?” Mr Lewis said he had “enormous” sympathy for families of those who died during the Troubles, especially children. He said the next step for the families should be to submit a Freedom of Information request to the National Archive. However, Sarah Duddy of the Pat Finucane Centre said Mr Lewis’s suggestion had been dismissed by the families in the past.
With many thanks to: The Irish News and Seamus McKinney for the original story
A former soldier has begun a legal challenge against a decision to prosecute him for the murder of a teenage boy in Londonderry more than 47 years ago.
Daniel Hegarty, 15, was killed in an Army operation in Creggan in July 1972.
In April 2019, the Public Prosecution Service (PPS) announced the veteran, who cannot be identified, is to be charged with the teenager’s murder.
He also faces a charge of wounding the teenager’s cousin, Christopher Hegarty.
Lawyers for the Army veteran, known as Soldier B, are seeking to judicially review those decisions at the High Court in Belfast.
Counsel for the ex-serviceman claimed that prosecutors failed to properly consider his health in reaching the decision to charge him over Daniel Hegarty’s killing.
The lawyer argued the decision to prosecute breaches his human rights.
Soldier B’s identity or whereabouts cannot be revealed due to reporting restrictions.
The prohibition also prevents precise details of the legal arguments made on his behalf being disclosed.
In 2011, an inquest jury found Daniel Hegarty posed no risk and was shot without warning as the Army moved in to clear “no-go” areas during Operation Motorman.
A decision was taken not to prosecute Soldier B in 2016.
The High Court quashed that determination after legal action by the Hegarty family in May 2018.
The current director of Public Prosecutions for Northern Ireland, Stephen Herron, carried out a review of the case before announcing charges are to be brought.
His decision is now being challenged by Soldier B on a number of grounds, including irrationality and an alleged failure to take proper account of the evidence.
The hearing continues.
With many thanks to: BBC NewsNI and Michael Fitzpatrick for the original story
Follow these links to find out more: https://www.yumpu.com/en/document/view/50777834/operation-motorman-danny-hegarty-cain