Monday, 25 July 2011

Joan Connolly

Joan’s Death
On August 9th 1971 "Internment without Trial" was introduced by the British Government in Northern Ireland. Men and women, young and old, were arrested and jailed without trial or reason. This was a date that would change the lives of Joan’s family forever. On this August evening the Parachute regiment of the British Army murdered Joan, a 45 year old mother of eight.
Joan was shot as she left her place of safety and went to the aid of a young boy (Noel Phillips) who was shot and wounded by the same regiment. Joan was shot several times in the head and body, with injuries so severe that part of her face was blown off. Joan's autopsy report indicates that Joan bled to death. Eye witnesses of the events claim Joan was blatantly refused emergency medical attention, even as she cried out for help.
The murder of Joan, the only woman shot in Ballymurphy during one of the trouble's worse events, left husband Denis without a wife and left eight children without a mother. The extent of Joan’s injuries was so horrific that Denis struggled to identify her body; he finally did on his third attempt aided only by Joan's red hair.
Joan’s family were in turmoil, not knowing what to do having suddenly lost their wife and mother. Denis, shocked by the situation and panicked by the on going trouble, sent his young daughters Denise (with baby Christopher), Briege, Joan, Maura and Irene to his family in the south of Ireland. Initially they had to endure a stay in a refugee camp, and this is where, having stumbled across the 12o'clock news one evening, Briege and Denise were to find out their mother was dead and had been buried. Both girls, shocked and stunned, only had each other for comfort as they mourned their mother’s death. Joan was branded an IRA woman, a claim that was never true and as a result, her death was not investigated properly.

No comments:

Post a Comment