By PATRICK ROBERTS,IrishCentral.com Staff Writer
Published Saturday, July 31, 2010, 10:45 AM
Updated Saturday, July 31, 2010, 11:01 AM
The Catholic Bishop of Down and Connor, Dr Noel Treanor is set to reveal previously undisclosed Church documentation which will apparently strengthen demands for a public inquiry into the killings of 11 people by British soldiers in west Belfast in August 1971, according to media reports.
The Bishop - who's the youngest in Ireland - says that the documents include eyewitness accounts taken two weeks after the killings in which a mother of 8 and a Catholic priest died.
The Bishop added that he was supporting calls for an independent international inquiry into the deaths and a British government apology; similar calls were made by family members and interest groups last month.
According to the church, the accounts include a serving member of the British army, a member of the British navy who returned to his ship shortly after the shootings, and a former member of the Irish Guards.
In a statement, the church said: "Those who compiled the report indicate that on the basis of the eyewitness accounts, 'we are convinced that the British army units involved, whether through fear or vindictiveness, unnecessarily fired a large number of rounds into the waste grounds across which innocent men, women and children were fleeing.'"
After meeting with victims and praying with them, the Bishop had this to say: "It is important in an integrated way as we build a shared future in this society that we courageously and openly have the guts to address the entire ballast of the past, the weight of the past, so we may go forward in a healthy way to construct a shared future."
The bill for the 12-year long Bloody Sunday inquiry was almost £200 million and the bishop stressed that the cost of any similar probe into the Ballymurphy incidents had to be kept under control.