Monthly Archives: November 2018

Seanad cross-party delegation attends Ballymurphy inquests

Senators (from left) Mark Daly,  Frances Black, Frank Feighan, Rose Conway-Walsh, and Niall Ó Donnghaile
Senators (from left) Mark Daly, Frances Black, Frank Feighan, Rose Conway-Walsh, and Niall Ó Donnghaile
A cross-party delegation of senators is attending the second day of the Ballymurphy inquests in Belfast.

The long-awaited inquests are examining the deaths of ten people killed during shooting incidents involving the British Army in the Ballymurphy area of west Belfast in 1971.

The representatives from the Seanad met with relatives of those who lost their lives outside the coroner’s court ahead of heading inside to observe today’s proceedings.

Counsel for coroner Sean Dornan is continuing with an opening statement to the court, with relations of two of the victims due to give evidence about their loved ones this afternoon.

Representatives from Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil, Sinn Féin, Labour and an independent travelled to Belfast for the hearing.

Sinn Féin’s Niall Ó Donnghaile and Rose Conway Walsh, Fine Gael’s Frank Feighan, Fianna Fáil’s Mark Daly and independent Frances Black met with family members ahead of the hearing.

Labour’s Ged Nash was due to attend court later in the day.

Families outside the courthouse before the inquests opened yesterday

Mr Ó Donnghaile said: “It is a significant morning for us that we have such a cross party and indeed such a nationally representative group of senators come here to observe proceedings at the Ballymurphy inquest, but to primarily re-engage and engage with the Ballymurphy families to continue showing solidarity with them, to hear their stories and to the ensure them of our support, the Seanad and indeed the broader Oireachtas’s support for them in their campaign and during what is going to be an arduous number of months for them.”

Yesterday, the court heard the families’ contention that the shootings were the result of “illegitimate, unjustified and indiscriminate use of force by the army”.

Inquests investigating the shooting incidents that unfolded over three days in August 1971, referred to as the Ballymurphy Massacre by bereaved relatives, are expected to last for months.

In 2011, Northern Ireland’s attorney general John Larkin directed that new inquests be heard after a long campaign by family members who claimed the original coronial probes were inadequate.

The shootings took place as the army moved into republican strongholds to arrest IRA suspects after the introduction by the Stormont administration of the controversial policy of internment without trial.

Soldiers have long been held responsible for killing all ten in Ballymurphy between 9 and 11 August 1971, but the accepted narrative became clouded earlier this year when former members of the paramilitary

Ulster Volunteer Force came forward to claim their organisation was also involved.

Mr Doran yesterday outlined some of the evidence that will be examined throughout the inquests.

He said each individual incident and death will require “careful scrutiny”.

In what he described as a “very broad observation” on the core issues, he said: “The narrative of the military is legitimate use of force was used at a time of heightened tension and response to specific threats.”

He said this ran contrary to the Ballymurphy families, who say the deaths resulted from “illegitimate, unjustified and indiscriminate use of force by the Army on civilians”

The families claim the military action resulted in the deaths of ten “entirely innocent civilians”.

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Irish people want a United Ireland, see a referendum in the next 10 years


First of its kind tracking poll shows the majority of Republic of Ireland residents are in favor of a United Ireland and there should be an all-island citizens assembly established.

The first survey of its kind the “Unifying Ireland Tracking Poll” commissioned by Fianna Fail Senator Mark Daly showed that 73.4% of residents in the Republic of Ireland would be in favor of unifying the people of Ireland.

The face to face survey was carried out by Brandtactics on behalf of Senator Daly. The anonymous survey conducted in September and October, in the Republic of Ireland provinces of  Munster, Leinster, and Connaught with a 500-person sample. What makes it unique is that this is the first of four tracking polls that will be carried out – meaning four of the questions will remain the same while three will vary.

Senator Daly said, “I commissioned Brand Tactics to carry out the polling and we will follow on with tracking polls every 4 months to obtain the views and options of the Irish people on the main aim of the Irish state in our constitution.”

The Republic of Ireland residents were asked if they would “vote Yes in favor of unifying the people of Ireland”. A massive 73.4% voted “Yes”, with just 26.6% voting “No”.

When asked if they believed there would be “a referendum on Unity” 29.68% said they believed a referendum would be held within ten years, another 21.7% believed a vote would be held within five years. Only 19.53% said they did not believe a referendum on a United Ireland would take place.

There was a resounding response to the question of whether an all-island citizens assembly should be established to “plan for unity and the future of Ireland”. A huge 64.34% said “Yes”.

Similarly when asked if the Irish government should “establish a task force to ensure the current peace” in the island of Ireland a large portion (47.81% ) said “Yes”, while 19.52% said “No” as they believe “the violence has ended”.

Sadly, when asked when asked which country, the Republic of Ireland or Northern Ireland, ranks higher in the United Nations Human Development Index on the topics of health, education, income and Northern Ireland the answer was overwhelming “The Republic of Ireland”. A massive 78.76% believed that the Republic ranks higher than the North.

The final question asked if the public in the Republic were “aware that the current budget of Northern Ireland would be balanced in a reunification scenario”. A majority, 73.4% said they “No” they were not aware.

Reflecting on the results of the “Unifying Ireland Tracking Poll” Senator Daly said “The results are not surprising and consistent with other polls. The wish of the vast majority of Irish people is for peaceful unification and there is a growing belief that a referendum will happen in the near future, in fact, Unionist MP for North Down Lady Sylvia Hermon, said the “there will be a border poll in her lifetime.”

Senator Mark Daily, who commissioned the poll.

Senator Mark Daily, who commissioned the poll.

He explained that in a post-Brexit world what he is now doing is being preparations to look at the issues surrounding the possible referendum on the unification of Ireland.

Daly said “Sixty-three percent of those surveyed believe that the government should establish an all-island citizens assembly to look at all the issues in advance of a referendum.

“The lesson of Brexit is you do not hold a Referendum and then tell people what the future looks like. Policy neglect seldom goes unpunished and Irish government need to do the long-term preparation that is required.”

Senator Daly compiled the first report by the Irish parliament on the issue of the reunification of Ireland. The report was unanimously adopted by the all-party Joint Committee on the Implementation of the Good Friday Agreement.

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