THOUSANDS of people took part in the march in Derry on January 27 marking the 41st anniversary of Bloody Sunday. It followed the route of the 1972 anti-internment march which ended with 14 marchers being shot dead by the British army’s Parachute regiment.
The march was led by relatives of some of those murdered on Bloody Sunday, as well as relatives of other victims of British State violence.
Veteran civil rights campaigner Bernadette McAliskey was the main speaker at the rally which followed the march.
Speaking at Free Derry Corner, Bernadette McAliskey paid tribute to the march organisers.
“It is important to remember to challenge the cover-up, even though some people from time to time begin to tire or begin to collaborate with the state and believe that it should be swept away and a new start made,” she said.
She also called for the release of prisoners Marian Price and Martin Corey.
“We came on the streets to end internment without trial yet here we are 41 years later in a new administration, a new dispensation, new power structures, and new civic collaborators and we still have internment without trial with people in prison on the whim and diktat of the Northern Ireland Secretary of State,” she said.
Meanwhile around the same time in the Waterside, hundreds of Union flag
protesters held what was billed as a march for “loyalist civil rights”. Among those in attendance at the rally was victims campaigner Willie Frazer.
A number of relatives of those murdered by British paratroopers on Bloody Sunday say they will continue to march until those responsible for the 1972 massacre are held to account.
Earlier this month it was revealed that to date not one soldier implicated in the murders and the maiming of a further 14 has been interviewed, or indeed arrested, as part of the investigation.
A lawyer representing the families and wounded of Bloody Sunday said he was “staggered” that the RUC/PSNI have still made no attempts to either question or arrest any former soldier involved in the 1972 massacre.
Peter Madden, of Madden and Finucane Solicitors said there had been an “abject failure” to progress the murder investigation which was announced back in July. Correspondence his firm had received from the RUC/PSNI confirmed that the police have yet to further the case for soldiers’ prosecutions and have yet to appoint a family liaison officer to work alongside families and those who were wounded on January 30, 1972.
Joe McKinney, whose brother William was shot dead in Glenfada Park, said: “I read a newspaper report in recent months concerning the trial of a man accused of murdering Captain Robert Nairac in 1977. The Crown barrister opening the prosecution said that the passage of time must not absolve those accused of heinous crimes being brought to justice, but it appears to me to grant absolution if the person responsible for the crime wore a British Army uniform,” Joe McKinney told the Derry Journal newspaper.
“I am extremely angry that there does not appear to be a level playing field and that those responsible for the murders committed on Bloody Sunday are not being pursued with any genuine conviction or rigour by the [RUC/]PSNI.”
John Kelly, whose 17-year-old brother Michael was murdered by British paratroopers on 30 January 1972, said that the British police had all the resources necessary for a giant security operation ahead of next year’s G8 Summit, which is to be held in Fermanagh.
“The [RUC/]PSNI don’t seem to be complaining about the money or the resources needed to cover the G8 Summit next year, yet still they insist they don’t have the resources needed to conduct a major murder investigation? That can’t be right.
“The fact is, we are all waiting for news of this murder investigation and now the [RUC/]PSNI will probably spend millions and draft in hundreds of extra personnel to police this summit of world leaders.
Kay Green, whose 17 year-old brother Jackie Duddy was the first fatality of Bloody Sunday said:
“This is still a murder investigation and, while the [RUC/]PSNI take their time deciding, they need to realise that time really is of the essence here. We are all getting older, so what are they going to do – wait till either we die off or the soldiers do? That’s what it looks like to me.”.
“Considering we waited so long since 1972 anyway, and the fact that it’s been two and a half years since the Saville Report was delivered, not to mention the fact that the police didn’t even have the common courtesy to inform families about the murder investigation and we actually found out about it on the news – I am really not surprised. We are only the families, after all. We’ve always been treated as second-class citizens and
so it goes on – our loved ones mean nothing to them.
“They have every bit of evidence necessary – evidence that they murdered, evidence that they committed perjury – it’s all there in front of them. What more do they need?”
A second theme of the weekend’s events is the subject of cover-up, with links to the Hillsborough justice campaign in Liverpool. There is a widely-held view that one reason that the soldiers have not been questioned by police is a fear that those higher up the political and military chain could become implicated in the massacre.
The families have launched a website (bloodysundaymarch.org) to pool information on the 2013 march and related talks, film-showings and other events.
Kate Nash had a message for those who believe it is time to stop campaigning.
“You are entitled to your opinion. It is your democratic right not to march,” she said. “However, I also have a democratic right to continue marching and I intend to do so.”
Meanwhile the family of Gerald Donaghey are continuing their campaign to have his name cleared and on January 24 his niece Geraldine Doherty headed a delegation of relatives, wounded and fellow campaigners took their case to members of the EU Parliament in Brussels.
Geraldine spoke of the personal anguish still felt over her uncle’s case and her late mother’s dying wish to see him fully exonerated. “I will not rest until he is cleared,” she said. “We were left with half-a-declaration of innocence while my mother was dealing with her own fight with cancer. She died a few months later having given up her fight.”
While declared innocent alongside the 27 others murdered and wounded by British paratroopers on January 30, 1972, Gerald Donaghey suffered a double injustice. He was the only victim of Bloody Sunday left with a stain upon his reputation as Lord Saville declared that the teen “probably” had nail-bombs on his person throughout. It is a claim refuted for decades by both civilian and military eyewitnesses.