‘No good reason’ not to reveal contentents of files on plastic bullet deaths

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. 

Irish children murdered by British Crown Forces in the occupied six Counties of the North of Ireland

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. 

Collusion is not an illusion!!!

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 

 

Abysmal attempt by NIO to conceal murder of Irish children

Letters: The Irish News 17/05/2019

Julie Livingston (14), murdered by the British Army, May 12, 1981.

One of the most bitter and divisive issues that keeps the political and sectarian pot boiling here in the six counties was highlighted in an article The Irish News (April 19).

The Pat Finucane Centre describes how two children were killed in Belfast and Derry.

Julie Livingstone (14) hit by a plastic bullet fired from a British army vehicle (May 12, 1981) on Stewartstown Road, Belfast and Paul Whitters (15), struck by another plastic bullet fired by the RUC in Derry (April 25,1981).

Paul Whitters (15), murdered by the RUC, April 25th, 1981

The emotional fabric of many families has been ripped apart when they have lost loved ones and close family members to the violence inspired by British involvement in Ireland.

The British government and their conduit the NIO, have closed the national archives file on Julie Livingstone for a further 45 years, another 40 years being added to Paul Whitters’s file.

They have extended the general file on plastic bullets also by 40 years until 2071.

What are the real reasons for doing this?

The hope for resolution that these families might have had is destroyed by these decisions.

However, this callously crass and pathetic approach at preventing closure for the families by the British should be challenged.

Representatives of the government crow on a daily basis for the return of a fully functioning assembly at Stormont.

No political assembly on these islands, gathered in the name of democracy, should act in the way the British government has acted in their abysmal attempts at concealing the murder of Irish children on the streets of Belfast and Derry.

Many political commentators have questioned the astuteness of different secretaries of state over the years and their ability to understand the dynamic of why Britain attempted, historically, to colonise and subjugate Ireland and how those attempts played out on the lives of Irish people.

Do they not realise that sitting in a Belfast or Derry house where children have been killed with plastic bullets is every bit as anguished and vexed for family and loved ones as sitting in a house in an English City where bombs have killed innocent people.

Should the killing of children by plastic baton rounds have happened in Finchley would files on the killings have been closed for 40 years?

Closing these files because of ‘health and safety’ reasons and ‘personal information’ demonstrates the absolute and utter contempt the British security force apparatus along with the NIO have for the deceased’s families and the Irish people.

V McCULLAGH
Derry City

http://www.irishnews.com/opinion/letterstotheeditor/2019/05/17/news/abysmal-attempt-by-nio-to-conceal-murder-of-irish-children-1621354/