Praise for film shining light on Ballymurphy massacre

Published:

Allison Morris. Irish News. Belfast. Monday, September 10, 2018

There has been huge online reaction to the network premiere of Massacre at Ballymurphy, the hard-hitting documentary by award-winning film-maker Callum Macrea which screened on Channel 4 at the weekend.

The film, which was previously premiered at Féile an Phobail, was shown on Saturday, with a reconstruction and forensic examination of the events which started on August 9, 1971.

The documentary contains personal stories from relatives of the 10 people shot dead in west Belfast by members of the parachute regiment over three days of horrific violence.

Paddy McCarthy, considered the 11th victim, died of a heart attack after British soldiers fired shots over his head.

Among the dead were mother-of-eight Joan Connolly and Fr Hugh Mullan, who was shot dead going to the rescue of another victim.

The film details a shocking re-enactment of the circumstances of Daniel Teggart’s death.

He was shot 14 times, and most of the bullets entered his back as he lay injured on the ground.

Following the programme Unionist Irish language activist Linda Ervine posted on Twitter: “Before watching #MassacreAtBallymurphy I had no knowledge of what took place all those years ago. A terrible wrong has been done”.

Another documentary maker, Seán Murray, said he hoped the screening of the film by Channel 4 “awakens the British public to the actions of their government during the conflict. Well done to my friend Callum Macrae and all involved”.

Journalist and broadcaster Eamonn Holmes tweeted in support of Mr Macrea, saying: “Regardless of your political persuasion or views on the Northern Irish Troubles, I would urge you to both hear what this man has to say and watch his film if you can. The year is 1971. The subject is the killing of civilians by the Parachute Regiment in Ballymurphy West Belfast.”

Ian Katz, director of programmes at Channel 4, said: “Ashamed to say I knew nothing about the Ballymurphy massacre – the 1971 killing of 11 men and women by the British army in Belfast – till I saw Callum Macrae’s meticulous and shocking reconstruction of it.”

Scottish political activist Tommy Sheridan said it was “absolutely shocking”.

“I am ashamed that despite my limited knowledge of British army atrocities in Northern Ireland I didn’t know about these state murders in Ballymurphy,” he said.

“No wonder the British Establishment have hidden such massacres from the general public for 47 years.”

Former soldier Glenn Bradley said he had “met the Ballymurphy families some years ago and have supported their call for truth since”.

“I watched Massacre At Ballymurphy and my lasting thought is how docile and compliant were the media then”.

Belfast boxer Michael Conlan said: “Watching Ballymurphy Massacre and listening to what families have gone through and still going through, my eyes are filling up, very sad stories to poor innocent families”.

Former Antrim football captain Anto Finnegan said: “This is not rewriting history, this is shining a light into that dark place those in power want to keep hidden.”