Bloody Sunday anniversary marked
JUSTICE DELAYED was the theme of yesterday’s annual commemoration march in Derry to mark the 40th anniversary of the killings in the Bogside area of the city on January 30th, 1972.
On that day, British paratroopers killed 13 civil rights marchers. A 14th person died later from injuries.
Internal divisions among the relatives of the dead dominated the run-up to the march, which was attended by almost 3,000 people. A majority of the families decided not to participate as a result of the conclusions of the Saville report into the Bloody Sunday killings which was published in June 2010.
It exonerated all of the victims with the exception of teenager Gerard Donaghey, who the report controversially concluded was probably armed with nail bombs when he was shot dead.
Members of Sinn Féin as well as members of the SDLP attended yesterday’s march and rally alongside members of the dissident republican group the 32 County Sovereignty Movement. Also in attendance was Kieran Dowling, the Irish Government’s joint head of the British-Irish secretariat in Belfast.
Michael Bridge, one of the Bloody Sunday wounded, took his place at the front of the march for the first time to highlight what he called the unfinished business of the Saville inquiry.
“I was one of the lucky ones. I was one of the 27 people shot on that day and, unlike 13 others, I survived. I have missed only two of these commemorative marches since then and today I’m marching at the front of the parade for the first time. I’m doing so to make the point that justice for the victims is still outstanding. The unfinished business can only be ended when the soldiers involved in that nightmare day are charged and prosecuted for their actions. Until that happens, this campaign for justice for me goes on,” he said.
Kate Nash, whose brother William (19) was shot dead on the day and whose father Alexander was wounded, said she has no dispute with the family members of the victims who opted not to march.
“I haven’t fallen out with any of the families who are not with us today. I respect their decision not to attend and I’m sure they in turn respect my decision to march. My hope is that this march will continue to highlight many other injustices perpetrated against innocent people whoever they might be and wherever they might be. They too are entitled to justice for their loved ones,” she said.
Michael McKinney, whose brother William was one of the 13 victims, said there had been differences of opinion among the Bloody Sunday families for some time.
“I am speaking personally, not for anyone else. I believe this march should continue until justice is truly seen to be done for all the victims.
“We have had the publication of the Saville report in June 2010 but its conclusions will be illogical without the prosecution of the soldiers who killed and wounded so many unarmed and innocent people on these streets 40 years ago,” he said.