New claims that a UVF sniper in Springmartin flats was responsible for some Ballymurphy casualties…

Here’s a breaking news story worth keeping an eye on. It comes from a paramilitary source, so we will have to see how it pans out…

In a potentially major development, loyalists who were active at the time have come forward with the new allegations.

They approached an interlocutor to claim a UVF sniper located in the neighbouring Springmartin estate opened fire into Ballymurphy.

It is understood these paramilitary veterans have provided the gunman’s name, alleging he was responsible for a number of the deaths.

Information has also been supplied on the rifle allegedly used, along with its subsequent seizure by the authorities.

“These men are adamant that if ballistic tests are carried out on the weapon it will establish that the UVF sniper did cause casualties, possibly fatal,” the source said.

The interlocutor has now contacted a Belfast solicitor to discuss how the information is supplied to the Coroners Service.

Billy Hutchinson, leader of the Progressive Unionist Party, which has links to the UVF, claimed it was a significant move which could help provide clarity around what happened at Ballymurphy.

The Belfast councillor added: “The IRA should reciprocate and declare what, if anything, it knows about the events over those days.”

And at the very least someone should ask Gerry about that public interest defence he privately pitched to Tony Blair back in 2000…

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Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty