Calls growing for UK apology after all 10 Ballymurphy victims found "entirely innocent"
"Will this Prime Minister now finally apologise for what those British Forces did by murdering 10 entirely innocent people..."
SDLP Leader Colum Eastwood has called on the UK Government to apologise after a coroner's report found all 10 Ballymurphy victims "entirely innocent".
Speaking in Westminster on Tuesday after the findings of an inquest which stated that all 10 Ballymurphy victims were innocent was announced, Eastwood said that the killings were "inhumane".
He added that he was inspired by the "courage and tenacity" of the families who had been continuously campaigning for justice since the 70s.
"Today, Madam Deputy Speaker, thankfully, after many years of campaigning, the Ballymurphy families got the truth out there for the world to see. The inquest findings into the people who were killed in Ballymurphy in 1971 were clear," he said.
"The families of the Ballymurphy massacre have been absolutely and totally vindicated today, and the truth that some people in this house will not want to accept is this, if those people were entirely innocent, then the soldiers that killed them, were guilty."
Eastwood also called on Prime Minister Boris Johnson to issue an apology to the Ballymurphy families and to stop pursuing "amnesty" for the soldiers who were responsible for the killings.
"Will this Prime Minister now finally apologise for what those British Forces did by murdering 10 entirely innocent people or will they continue to pursue an amnesty for their killers? That's the question," he continued.
"That's the challenge, and that's a standard that should be met by any country that wants to call itself a democracy."
The 10 people shot dead in Ballymurphy in West Belfast in 1971 were all found to be "entirely innocent of any wrongdoing on the day in question” by a coroner on Tuesday.
Delivering her findings in Belfast after the longest-running inquests in Northern Ireland’s history, Justice Siobhán Keegan said she hoped the findings would bring peace to the families of the victims.
She found that nine out of 10 were shot by the British army, and in the majority of cases, the force used was "disproportionate".
It comes after plans were leaked to British newspapers last month which would involve a statute of limitations so that prosecutions for crimes committed up to the 1998 Belfast Agreement would be prevented, except in cases involving genocide, torture or other war crimes.
The plans would prevent the prosecution of British army veterans of the conflict but would also reportedly apply to all sides in the conflict, including IRA members.
You can watch the full speech here: