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28 Jan 2013
The anniversary march was the first since the PSNI said it was opening a new investigation into Bloody Sunday
Up to 3,000 people have attended a march in Derry to mark the 41st anniversary of Bloody Sunday, when 14 civilians were killed after British army paratroopers opened fired on a civil rights demonstration in the Bogside area.
At Free Derry Corner the crowds were addressed by Bernadette McAliskey, who had been the main speaker at the Bloody Sunday rally in 1972.
This was the first commemoration in Derry since the PSNI confirmed last month that it is opening what it says will be a lengthy and complex investigation into the events of 1972.
That decision by the police followed the Saville Public Inquiry into Bloody Sunday and after an apology was given to the victims and their families by British Prime Minister David Cameron in the House of Commons.
Earlier, on the other side of Derry city, several hundred people attended a loyalist protest linked to the ongoing Union flag controversy.
This weekend also marks the 8th anniversary of the killing of Robert McCartney.
He was an innocent man who was attacked when attempting to intervene in a row in a Belfast bar.
The clientele there include a group who had earlier attended a Bloody Sunday commemoration in Derry.
Nobody has ever been brought to justice for Mr McCartney’s murder.
18 June 2012
Two years ago this week, Geraldine Doherty stood shoulder to shoulder with fellow Bloody Sunday campaigners on the steps of the Guildhall and declared her uncle’s innocence to the world. Few could have realised how courageous a step this was as her uncle Gerald Donaghey was, in fact, the only person left with a ‘stain’ upon his character in the long-awaited Bloody Sunday Report…
Geraldine Doherty hopes it may re-open the debate surrounding her uncle’s case.
For 38 long years, Geraldine’s heartbroken mother Mary Doherty (nee Donaghey) had battled to clear her baby brother’s name. Mary had been to the forefront of the subsequent Bloody Sunday Justice Campaign, but sadly she would not live to see Gerald fully exonerated. Devastated by Lord Saville’s contentious ruling on her brother, Mary passed away just months after the report was published.
Geraldine still finds it difficult to talk about her mum and how much the cause meant to her. Indeed, a deeply personal account she penned in the new booklet conveys just how much the massacre of Bloody Sunday had impacted on all their lives.
“I really needed to get the human side across. I’m sure people still think to themselves ‘Gerald Donaghey – that’s the wee fella with the nail-bombs’ and they don’t know the whole story so that’s why this booklet is so important. I promised my mum I wouldn’t give up.”
Gerald Donaghey was just 17-years-old when he was murdered on Bloody Sunday. He had been on the civil rights march with two close friends, Donncha and Conal McFeely. Their lives would never be the same.
“When Gerald died, his best friend Donncha could see the pain and hurt of my mother and so, in a way, he tried to protect her and take over that brotherly role. You could see that close bond that existed between them. On the day the Bloody Sunday Report came out, Donncha was so heartbroken at the thought of my mother’s reaction, he couldn’t even speak.”
Gerald Donaghey had been adopted by the Donaghey family from an early age and his sister Mary loved him like no other. When tragedy suddenly struck their home, Mary became a surrogate mother too.
“My granny and granddad actually died within four weeks of each other when Gerald was only ten,” Geraldine reveals. “The wider family considered putting him back in the home and my mother flatly refused. No way, she said, he had to stay with her. So she took over the mothering role when she was only 19 years-old.”
Geraldine never had the opportunity to meet her uncle and namesake, having been born in 1973 one year after Bloody Sunday.
“It wasn’t until I was a bit older that I asked my mum why she always went out every January with a wreath and she told me I had an uncle who died on Bloody Sunday. I was probably eight or nine years-old then. I never met Gerald, but it’s all those wee stories my mother told me that I keep and cherish about how he was a loveable fella, really caring, and happy go-lucky. They were so close.”
Mary Doherty had been one of the core campaigners during the Bloody Sunday Justice Campaign.
“Every week, Mickey McKinney would collect me and my mum and Kay Duddy to go to the campaign meetings in West End Park where we sat freezing around a wee heater wondering what we could do and coming up with ideas,” Geraldine recalls. “What I remember most now is the sheer perseverance of everyone. No matter how many knocks we got, we just got up and carried on – there was no stopping us.
“I don’t think any of us imagined we would get this far, though. It wasn’t until we got solicitors involved and the British Government announced we could have our inquiry and we thought, oh my God, this is it! This is history in the making. The day it was announced we all walked from the Trinity Hotel up the Strand Road together to let the people of Derry know. People in the crowd were saying ‘they’ve got their inquiry! They’ve got it!’” I’ll never forget the feeling and the buzz of that day.”
Despite the expansive Bloody Sunday Inquiry that was to span ten years and cost almost £200 million, Geraldine always harboured a fear that her uncle would be used as a scapegoat.
“I was never hopeful,” she says. “My mother always said that Gerald would be used as a fall-guy, as did Donncha and Conal McFeely, and they were right. They used him as a scapegoat just like we had always feared.”
By the time the Bloody Sunday report was published on 15 June 2010, Mary Doherty was 64 years-old and terminally ill. Geraldine attended the pre-read of the report in her mother’s place, accompanied by Gerald’s best friend, Donncha McFeely. Geraldine was terrified.
“I had gone in with Donncha because my mother just wasn’t strong enough to go,” she remembers. “She knew they would use him as a fall-guy. And she was right. It was bad enough the first time with Widgery [the 1972 report], but the second time was just soul-destroying. That day, Saville’s report killed my mother, it just destroyed her. You could literally see the fight had left her.”
Geraldine struggles to keep her tears back when recalling how her mother took the dreaded news.
“I looked at Patricia Coyle, the solicitor, and said to her ‘what about the nail-bombs’ and she just said, ‘no, Geraldine – but he has his declaration of innocence.’ I remember saying ‘how am I going to tell my mother this?’ I just didn’t know how I could break that news to her. Then mammy came up in the lift and I’ll never forget the moment when those lift doors opened – she just knew. She said ‘it’s not good’ and I put my arms around her and said, ‘mammy, it’s good and bad. He’s got his declaration of innocence but they left the nail-bombs. She was just heartbroken.”
Mary wanted to go home immediately, but first Geraldine had to face the 10,000 strong crowd waiting patiently outside.
“My mother told me to go out and do our part. It wouldn’t have been in our nature to put a dampener on that day or on the other families’ victory. She was so over the moon for the others.”
Few can imagine the courage it took for Geraldine to brave those jubilant crowds, but looking back, Geraldine doesn’t feel so brave.
“I was so nervous I froze, but I knew I had to do it. So I went out with all the others and said that Gerald had been declared innocent. It wouldn’t have been fair to mention the nail-bombs and nobody really knew at that stage about Saville’s ruling. We didn’t want to take the shine off so many others, so I said my part – not what I wanted to say in my heart – but at least that he was innocent.”
Geraldine and Donncha had prepared an earlier piece. “Our original statement said ‘This report does not say my uncle had nail-bombs only that he might have. The possibility that the nail-bombs were planted could not be eliminated by Saville. What the Saville Inquiry does say is that my uncle was murdered by Soldier G as he was trying to get away to safety from soldiers who had just murdered Jim Wray and William McKinney.’”
However, when she saw the euphoria outside, Geraldine left out any mention of the nail-bombs. It was the right thing to do.
“There was no way we were going to rain on everyone’s parade,” she says.
“I was just numb and wanted to get it all over with. I wanted to get my mother home. She did get comfort from Gerald’s declaration of innocence, but heartbroken about the nail-bombs, but she had so much respect for the other families she wouldn’t dream of ruining their day.
“That’s the kind of woman she was. Even when she was diagnosed with cancer she carried on, and I really believe it was the campaign that kept my mother going. She never complained once, she just got on with it. The doctor once told me that they couldn’t understand how my mother was still living, that she should have been dead three years ago, and I just knew it was the thought of Bloody Sunday and getting answers that had kept her going all that time.”
‘It destroyed her’
Mary Doherty’s heath declined rapidly after the report was published. “From that day on, you could see her going downhill,” Geraldine remembers.
“It just destroyed her and she was gone within five months of the report going out.
“The other families were actually in Westminster when the news came through that my mother had died and it was announced in Parliament that she had passed away. She would have been so honoured that they thought so highly of her to announce it there of all places.”
“Just before she died, she said to me ‘Geraldine you keep fighting, you get out there and make sure you get Gerald’s name cleared properly,’ and I promised my mother I would. She would have been so proud to see how many people came to the launch and who still believed in Gerald’s innocence. I’m just glad we have fulfilled our promise to her…”
18 June 2012
The last two men to see Bloody Sunday victim Gerald Donaghey alive say they’re “astounded” that Lord Saville ignored their evidence and concluded the teenager was ‘probably’ armed with nail-bombs when shot.
Speaking at Friday’s launch of a booklet entitled ‘Gerald Donaghey: The Truth About the Planting of Nailbombs on Bloody Sunday’, Raymond Roganand Leo Young said they stood by their evidence to the Saville Inquiry that the 17-year-old didn’t have nail bombs when he was murdered in the Bogside in January 1972.
The booklet launched by the Bloody Sunday Trust examines all existing evidence and concludes that Saville’s 2010 ruling was “fundamentally flawed”. Mr. Rogan brought the dying teenager into his home before trying to take him to Altnagelvin Hospital accompanied by Mr. Young who, at that time, was unaware his own brother was also among the dead. However, the car was stopped by the British Army and all three were detained with Gerald Donaghey left to die alone. Photographs later emerged showing a sizable nailbomb in his pocket – one of four the British Army claimed to have found on him.
Raymond Rogan told the ‘Sunday Journal’: “I often wonder what I would say to Saville if I met him face to face because, despite all the evidence, he came to the conclusion that I must be some kind of an eejit or fool and that I would carry somebody with bombs in their pockets into my house where my kids were.
“I would love to confront him and ask, ‘am I a fool or devious or what?’ I still can’t believe that he could come to that conclusion, despite all the evidence.”
Mr Rogan welcomed the new Donaghey report and said he was hopeful the public would make up their own minds om whether or not nail-bombs had been planted.
“When the Saville Report was published, my first thought was that there was still unfinished business. It’s important for the wider world to look at the results of Saville’s assessment, examine all the evidence and draw their own conclusions.”
Leo Young says he has never forgotten about Gerald Donaghey. Before cradling the dying teen in the back seat of Rogan’s car, he had frantically searched the boy’s pockets in the hope of identifying him and he says he knows there was nothing in his pockets.
Mr Young still can’t accept Saville’s conclusions on Donaghey.
“They ignored the civilian witnesses ,” he said. “They basically called me a liar because I should have seen something that just wasn’t there. I always had faith in Saville but that particular case really upset me.
“I still find it very hard to accept that he would say Gerald ‘probably’ had bombs on him – it’s ridiculous. I hope his name is cleared for the sake of his niece, Geraldine and the family. I hope the truth will come out.”
15 June 2012
Gerald Donaghey (17) who was murdered on Bloody Sunday.
A compelling new study demolishes once-and-for-all claims that a teenager murdered on Bloody Sunday was carrying nail bombs when he was shot.
Gerald Donaghey (pictured) was aged just 17 when he was gunned down in the Bogside on January 30, 1972.
The Bloody Sunday Inquiry, which published its official report two years ago today, found that he was “probably” in possession of nail-bombs when he was shot – a finding which continues to anger the Donaghey family.
However, this morning at the City Hotel in Derry, a new report which brands Lord Saville’s finding as “fundamentally flawed” will be officially launched by the Mayor of Derry Kevin Campbell.
The new study includes a detailed analysis of Lord Saville’s controversial finding and concludes that the nail bombs must have been planted on the teenager by the security forces.
The report – which is available in booklet form – also includes a moving contribution from Mr. Donaghey’s niece, Geraldine Doherty, in which she vows to continue the campaign to clear her uncle’s name.
Conal McFeely, chair of the Bloody Sunday Trust, says the new report aims to “remove the stain which has hung over Gerald Donaghey’s reputation for forty years”.
He told the ‘Journal’: “Hopefully it will set the truth – the whole truth – free, once and for all.”
Mr. McFeely says that, given the volume of evidence to the contrary, it “beggars belief” that Lord Saville could conclude that Gerald Donaghey “probably” had four nail bombs in his pockets when he was shot dead.
He adds: “Surely, on the basis of all the evidence, the other possibility – which Saville allowed for but quickly discounted – was the more likely: that the nail bombs had been planted on Gerald after he died.”
15 June 2012
A niece of Gerald Donaghey has vowed to clear her uncle’s name.
Geraldine Doherty says she knows her uncle is innocent and insists she will “never stop telling people the truth.”
Geraldine says she particularly wants to establish her uncle’s innocence for her mother, Mary Donaghey, who passed away just months after the publication of the Saville Report.
She says: “I was so happy, and my mum was so happy, when all of those who died on Bloody Sunday were declared innocent.
“We were so happy for the other families, but our own happiness was tainted by the claim that my uncle Gerald ‘probably’ had nail bombs in his pockets when he was shot.
“It was painful for us that the report could not reflect the evidence and just state that he didn’t. My mum was very ill at the time and this was her chance to have her beloved brother’s name totally cleared, but she didn’t get what she wanted, and she died just a few months later with that stain still on his name.
“But she knew, and I know, and anyone who reads or has read the evidence will know, that my uncle Gerald was not carrying nail bombs when he was shot; he was totally innocent like all the rest.”
Geraldine says her uncle was “a very loving and caring boy.”
“Whenever he walked into a room, he would light it up,” she says. “He was a big gentle giant who loved football and fishing, the dances and, of course, the girls.”
She also recalls that Gerald was only three weeks old when he was adopted by her grandparents.
“I remember my mum telling me that, when they brought Gerald home to Wellington Street, they brought him round all the relations to show him off; they were so proud of him.”
She adds: “My uncle Gerald had ten wonderful happy years with his family until December 1965 when my grand-dad died and, then, my granny just four weeks later, in January 1966.
“Gerald was only ten then and my mum only nineteen when they lost both their parents in the space of a few weeks. Some members of the wider family thought Gerald should be put back into care, but my mum was determined that she would raise Gerald herself and she did. Even though she was only nine years older than him she took on a mother’s role and brought him up herself.”
15 June 2012
A London-based human rights watchdog believes nail bombs were planted on Gerald Donaghey by the security forces.
British-Irish Rights Watch (BIRW) – which has been monitoring events in the North since 1990 – says that, after a “thorough and detailed analysis” of the Saville Inquiry findings on the matter, it has concluded that the teenager did not have nail bombs in his pockets when he was killed.
Jane Winter, the organisation’s director, says the planting of the bombs “added insult to inquiry and has left Gerald Donaghey with an undeserved stain on his character – to the great grief of his family.
“We believe that, like all the other dead and injured, he was an innocent victim of what the prime minister has called unjustified and unjustifiable shooting by members of 1 Para on Bloody Sunday.”
BIRW says Lord Saville’s conclusion that Gerald Donaghey was “probably” in possession of nail bombs when shot is “fundamentally flawed” and “flies in the face” of evidence presented to his Inquiry.
BIRW pinpoints a number of factors which, it says, “tend to suggest” the teenager was not armed with nail bombs but they were planted on his body after his death. They include:
• only one person claimed that Gerald Donaghey was in possession of nail bombs, and that was Patrick Ward, whose evidence the BSI found to be unreliable;
• none of the witnesses, whether civilians or members of the security forces, who saw, or, more importantly touched, Gerald Donaghey saw any nail bombs at any point before their “discovery”;
• the BSI was unable to establish who first noticed nail bombs on Gerald Donaghey’s body;
• Gerald Donaghey’s body was at the Regimental Aid Post for a period of some ten minutes before anyone reported discovering any nail bomb;
• the bullet that killed Gerald Donaghey miraculously passed through the left-hand pocket of his jacket but missed the nail bomb that was, in the opinion of the Inquiry, in that pocket at that time.
According to BIRW, Lord Saville’s “flawed” findings in relation to Gerald Donaghey’s alleged possession of nail bombs served a number of purposes.
“First, and most crucially, from the point of view of Gerald Donaghey’s family, they exonerated both the police and the army of having planted nail bombs on Gerald Donaghey’s dead body. Second, they enabled the BSI to find that the IRA, whether Provisional or Official, was armed with nail bombs on Bloody Sunday.”
15 June 2012
The Bloody Sunday Trust is launching a fresh attempt to clear the name of a teenager shot dead in January 1972.
A report by Lord Saville found that Gerald Donaghey, 17, was “probably armed with nail bombs but was not a threat at the time that he was shot”.
17-year-old Gerald Donaghey was one of 13 shot dead on Bloody Sunday
He was a member of the IRA’s youth wing, but witnesses said he did not have any bombs on him.
The Donaghey family have always insisted the devices were planted by the security forces.
They said they would not rest until his name was cleared.
Conal McFeely, the chairman of the Bloody Sunday Trust, said Lord Saville’s conclusion did not make sense.
“How can he ignore the fact that the people who were with Gerald Donaghey on the day didn’t see nail bombs? said Mr McFeely.
“Independent civilian witnesses that came to his aid, a doctor who examined him, a British soldier, the people trying to take him to hospital, all testified that they did not see nail bombs in his possession.”
Thirteen people were shot dead when soldiers opened fire on marchers during a civil rights march in Londonderry on 30 January, 1972.
Another man died five months later.
Thursday’s move by the Bloody Sunday Trust coincides with the second anniversary of the publication of the Saville Report.
The Museum of Free Derry in the Bogside neighborhood
DERRY, Northern Ireland – Anguished screams, mournful wails, and fear-filled cries greet visitors to the Museum of Free Derry. This small, emotionally powerful museum chronicles the city’s role in The Troubles, as presented by those who lived in the Bogside neighborhood and experienced the conflicts, riots, and marches conducted in the name of civil rights.
For the residents of Bogside, a Catholic, working-class neighborhood, Bloody Sunday, Jan. 30, 1972, is a day that lives in infamy. About 15,000 people were reported to have marched in an anti-internment rally that day, and 27 were shot and 14 killed when British soldiers began shooting. The museum is sited at the heart of the worst violence.
“This is my story and my brother Michael’s story,’’ says John Kelly, the museum’s education and outreach officer. “Michael was the youngest of all to die on Bloody Sunday. He died for civil rights.’’ It’s impossible to ignore the recorded-live audio playing in the background, and, inside, the real-time video capturing the violence. Equally disturbing are the exhibits, comprising artifacts in their original state such as the blood-stained banner carried during the march and the hatred-filled letters received by the families after it.
Outside the museum are 13 murals, painted on the sides of neighborhood buildings. Most pay homage to the violent history and Bogside’s heroes; one envisions a bright future.
• Bloody Sunday Centre 55 Glenfada Park, 011-44-28-7136-0880, www.museumoffreederry.org, $4.70 adults.
15 April 2012
The brother of a teenager murdered on Bloody Sunday has condemned plans to erect a memorial stone to Sir Edward Heath – the British prime minister at the time of the Bogside massacre.
The tribute to the late Conservative PM will be mounted at London’s Westminster Abbey.
It’s expected to be unveiled later this year.
The Dean of Westminster, the Very Reverend Dr John Hall, described the move as “fitting”.
Mr. Heath, who died in 2005 at the age of 89, served as prime minister between 1970 and 1974.
John Kelly, whose brother, Michael, was among those gunned down on January 30, 1972, described the memorial move as “sickening”.
“I, personally, hold Ted Heath – the political master of the British armed forces in 1972 – among those ultimately responsible for the murder of my brother on Bloody Sunday.
“To memorialise him in any way is both sickening and contemptible.”
It was in 2003 that Mr. Heath gave evidence to the Saville Inquiry hearings in London.
Throughout his testimony, the ex-PM rejected suggestions that the British government had planned the events of Bloody Sunday.
In his written evidence to the inquiry, he said: “The tragic deaths outraged the Catholic community, increased support for the IRA and destroyed the prospect of a political initiative.
“It is, therefore, absurd to suggest that Her Majesty’s Government intended or was prepared to risk the events which occurred.”
As prime minister in 1972, Heath ordered the original Widgery Inquiry into Bloody Sunday.
During his evidence to Saville, he also denied pressuring Lord Widgery into producing a report that was favourable to the security forces and said the conclusions reached were achieved “without fear and favour”.
Meanwhile, a memorial stone to another former British prime minister with links to Derry is to be erected at Westminster Abbey.
Labour’s James Callaghan, who was PM from 1976 to 1979, visited Derry in 1969 during his stint as Home Secretary.
14 February 2012
An initial ‘scoping exercise’ into Bloody Sunday prosecutions has been completed by both the PSNI and the Public Prosecution Service (PPS), the Journal can reveal.
According to a spokesperson for the PSNI, detectives are only now “starting” to examine the possibility of prosecuting those responsible for the murder of 14 Derrymen in January 1972.
This Saville Report was released some 20 months ago and runs to over 5, 000 pages. Following enquires by this paper the PPS said that they had: “Completed their scoping exercise of the material in the Saville Report.”
The spokesperson then revealed that: “We have provided the PSNI with prosecutorial advice in relation to a number of legal issues that arise in connection with any potential prosecutions and will continue to consult with police as necessary.”
When contacted by The Journal the PSNI confirmed that they had concluded their own scoping exercise of the report, adding: “The PPS has completed its own scoping exercise and provided PSNI with prosecutorial advice in relation to a number of the legal issues that arise in connection with any potential prosecutions.
“Police continue to consult with the Public Prosecution Service and detectives are starting to look at potential investigative opportunities flowing from the scoping exercise.” However they did warn; “This preliminary work may take some time.” A spokesperson for the Bloody Sunday Trust declined to comment adding that they were taking the matter under legal guidance.
This past weekend I was in Derry. Sinn Féin held the latest of our very successful Uniting Ireland conferences which drew a capacity crowd in the Millennium Forum.
Derry is a beautiful city, full of history and culture and art. And the people are great.
But for many people, particularly in the United States, the name Derry is synonymous with the terrible events that occurred there on January 30th 1972. On that day – exactly 40 years ago this week – British Paratroopers shot dead 14 civil rights marchers and wounded others in what has passed into history as Bloody Sunday.
For the 39 years following that atrocity the families and the people of Derry campaigned for truth and justice for those who died and were injured. At great personal cost they organized and marched and lobbied.
In this they received invaluable support from Irish America. Noraid, the AOH, Clann na nGael and many others enthusiastically and relentlessly lobbied U.S. politicians. Irish people throughout the globe and Irish America in particular involved in the arts, academia and the labor movement supported the families.
Motions of support were passed in local and state legislatures and hearings were held in Washington. It was a long drawn out battle as successive British governments lied, opposed, and obstructed every effort by the families to get to the truth.
The British Widgery Inquiry had blamed the organizers of the march, the victims and the IRA. Widgery accused the dead of being “gunmen and bombers.” According to the British, the Paras’ actions were legal.
The Saville report, published in June 2010, finally binned that lie and established that the victims were innocent.
The Saville report was a vindication for the families who had campaigned for so long. It also concluded that the organizers of the march were not to blame for what happened. Saville decided that the IRA, or members of the IRA, had not taken any action that precipitated events.
Saville acknowledged that British soldiers fired the first shot and continued firing without any provocation. He dismissed any suggestion that soldiers acted out of panic or fear or confusion. Their actions were “unjustified and unjustifiable.”
But Saville’s conclusions are not the end of the matter. It is clear that the report tries very hard to limit blame for what happened to the soldiers on the ground who carried out the killings. In doing so, it seeks to exonerate their military and political masters.
And it is here that Saville fails. The report makes only a token nod towards the British Army command, and there is minimal criticism of the Para commander who was present in Derry.
The reality is that the Paras were acting within a political and military regime constructed by their political masters and by the top generals.
In the months before Bloody Sunday, a secret British cabinet committee dubbed “GEN42″ had been discussing policy in the North. It was chaired by the British Prime Minister Ted Heath. It involved senior British army figures and senior politicians, including Quentin Hogg, aka Lord Hailsham.
In 1971, during an interview in which he was asked about U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy’s interest in the North, Hailsham had banged the table with his fist and cried: “those Roman Catholic bastards. How dare they interfere!”
Over 20 years later, Michael Carver, who had been the British army’s chief of the general staff, and was a member of GEN42 at that time, admitted that Heath had wanted soldiers to be able to shoot citizens irrespective of whether they were armed or not.
He claimed that Heath had been told by Hailsham, who as Lord Chancellor was the head of the British judiciary, that this was legal.
During a meeting of GEN42 on October 6, 1971 – four months before Bloody Sunday – it is reported that Heath said: “the first priority should be the defeat of the gunman by military means and that we would have to accept whatever political penalties were inevitable.”
This was the political and military climate in which General Robert Ford, who was the British commander of land forces in the North of Ireland, wrote a memo after visiting Derry on January 7, 1972.
In his memo, Ford states that he is “coming to the conclusion that the minimum force necessary to achieve a restoration of law and order is to shoot selected ringleaders amongst the DYH (Derry young hooligans).”
In Derry, on January 30 1972, a senior correspondent from the London Times was standing next to Ford when paratroopers were ordered into the Bogside. Brian Cashinelle reported Ford was waving his swagger stick and shouting “Go on the Paras, go and get them, go on, go and get them.”
However, in his report, Saville ring-fences blame around the small number of Paras who shot the marchers and attaches no blame to the generals and the politicians who made it happen.
That is a fault, especially when one considers the role of the British state in collusion, and in other similar atrocities like the Dublin and Monaghan bombings and the Ballymurphy Massacre.
Forty years on, the weekend’s Uniting Ireland conference in Derry demonstrated the great resilience of the citizens of that fine city, and the work that is going on to unite and re-imagine a new Ireland.
It was also proof that British military policies – including the murders of Bloody Sunday – have failed. For that we give thanks to the Bloody Sunday families, and to everyone who supported them.
31 January 2012
The paratroopers who shot and killed innocent civilians on the streets of Derry on Bloody Sunday are “war criminals” and “must be prosecuted,” those attending the 40th anniversary commemoration at the Rossville Street monument were told on Sunday morning.
Geraldine Doherty, niece of Gerard Donaghey, made the remarks during the commemoration at the Bloody Sunday monument on Rossville Street, just yards from where a number of those killed on January 30th 1972 were shot.
She also repeated her determination to continue campaigning to have her uncle’s name cleared. In his report published in June 2010 Lord Saville said that Gerard Donaghey was innocent but added that he may have been carrying nail bombs when he was shot.
His family, and many others, including doctors who attempted to treat the wounded teenager, have always rejected claims that he was carrying nailbombs and have claimed they were planted by the security forces.
Around 1,000 people attended the ceremony on Sunday, including relatives of all of those killed on Bloody Sunday and a number of the wounded. Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, Nobel Laureatte John Hume, and former civil rights leader Ivan Cooper also attended the service.
An interdenominational church service was also held led by Fr Michael Canny, adm, Glendermott, First Derry Presbyterian Minister, Rev David Latimer, and, Church of England clergyman, Rev David Jennings.
Rev Latimer said the Bloody Sunday families have shown what can be achieved when people stand together.
“We do not have every answer and there are questions yet unasked, but of this much we can be certain – together we can make a difference. Therefore let us as Catholics, Protestants, Nationalists, Unionists, Republicans and Loyalists willingly stand alongside each other, to restate and reaffirm our commitment to peace and to working in partnership with each other,” he said.
The choir from St Mary’s Church, Creggan, sang a number of hymns at the service.
Wreaths were laid by relatives at the monument on behalf of the families and by the deputy mayor, councillor Kevin Campbell on behalf of Derry City Council. Kieran Dowling from the Department of Foreign Affairs also laid a wreath on behalf of the Irish government.
Maureen Coleman, a spokesperson for the families of those killed in the Loughinisland massacre in 1994 when six people were killed by loyalist gunmen, siad that the Bloody Sunday families’ campaign for justice is an ongoing “inspiration” to all relatives who are seeking the truth about the deaths of their loved ones.
Emmett McConomy, brother of Stephen McConomy, an eleven year-old schoolboy was shot and killed by a plastic bullet fired by a British soldier close to Fahan Street in April 1982, also addressed the crowd and announced that a large commemoration will be held this year to mark the 30th anniversary of his brother’s death.
Kay Green, sister of Jackie Duddy, read out the names of all those killed on Bloody Sunday, as well as those of the wounded who have since died.
She also paid tribute to the wounded who are still alive.
A minutes silence was also held.
The commemoration service was brought to a close by Danika Breslin who sang ‘Something inside so strong.’
20 Jan 2012
Lord Saville oversaw the Bloody Sunday Inquiry which lasted 10 years
Lord Saville, who chaired the Bloody Sunday inquiry, has said the shootings were Derry’s “most terrible day”.
In a BBC interview he said his report seemed “to have achieved a lessening of tensions and possibly a degree of moving on”.
He also defended the £195m cost of the 12-year inquiry, saying it would have been a “disaster” if not done properly.
On 30 January 1972, a civil rights march in Derry ended with the shooting dead of 13 people by the British army.
The Saville Report, published on 15 June 2010, was heavily critical of the Army and found that soldiers fired the first shot.
Speaking before Parliament, Prime Minister David Cameron said he was “deeply sorry” and that the findings of the report were “shocking”.
A huge cheer erupted in Guildhall Square in Derry as Mr Cameron delivered the findings which unequivocally blamed the Army for one of the most controversial days in Northern Ireland’s history.
Lord Saville was appointed in 1998 by then Prime Minister Tony Blair to look into the events of Bloody Sunday.
It followed an earlier official inquiry in 1972, led by the Lord Chief Justice Lord Widgery, which was described as a “whitewash” by the families of the victims and their supporters.
Lord Saville said he had the impression that people in Derry were as upset by the Widgery Report as they have been by the events of the day.
“But, of course, whether they were right to be upset by the Widgery Report at the beginning we had no idea, because we had no preconceptions,” he said.
“We started with a clean slate and on the evidence we received and the research we did, we came to the conclusions we did which differed from those of Lord Widgery.”
“I’m happy with the reception the report received, but I must stress, we didn’t write the report with a view to what reception it might receive.
“We wrote the report in an attempt to find out what had happened on Bloody Sunday.
The scene outside the Guildhall Familes emerge from the Guildhall in Derry on 15 June 2010 after receiving the Saville Report
“It does seem to have advanced the cause of peace of Northern Ireland.”
While most of the families of those killed on Bloody Sunday welcomed the Saville Report, one has questioned its findings.
The inquiry found that one of the victims, 17-year-old Gerald Donaghey was probably armed with nail bombs when he was shot by Soldier G.
However, it went on to say that he was not preparing to throw them at the time when he was shot, nor was he shot because he was carrying them.
The Donaghey family have argued that the nail bombs were planted on Gerald.
Lord Saville said the inquiry had looked at the killing at “considerable length”.
“The chapter on Gerald Donaghey and the nail bombs is more than 100 pages long, and it really came down to two possibilities,” he said.
“We couldn’t exclude the possibility that the nail bombs had been planted on him.
“But we came to the conclusion that the balance of probabilities of those two possibilities lay in the conclusion that he probably had the nail bombs on him when he was shot, not sure about it, but it was probably the case.”
‘Gratified and pleased’
Lord Saville was not in Derry on the day the report was published, he was writing up another judgement for the Supreme Court, but did watch some of the events in the city unfold on television.
“My counsel team did go over there and they told me it was one of the most emotional occasions they’d ever been to,” he said.
“It did seem to get a good reception and the city that day did seem to be happy, so I was gratified and pleased.
“He (David Cameron) did adopt the absolutely correct response to a report of this kind and from what I saw on the television about the reception in Derry, he achieved a remarkable result.
“I never thought I would see an audience outside the Guildhall in Derry actually applaud a Conservative prime minister.”
On a role that took up so much of his life, Lord Saville said they were on a “search for the truth and we wanted everyone to help us find the truth if we possibly could”.
“Christopher Clarke in his opening statement said: ‘Not the truth as people would like it to be, but the truth pure and simple. However complex, painful or unacceptable to whom so ever that truth may be.’
“It was simply another, and by far the longest and biggest, judgement of my judicial career and as a judge you do your best to reach the answer you think is best and it’s for others to judge whether you have done so or not.
“It was a job that I tried to do carefully.
“It took a lot of time, cost a lot of money, we received a lot of criticism for spending so much time and so much money, but we felt that had to be done in order to do not only a thorough job but also a fair job,” he said.
• More of the interview with Lord Saville can be seen on BBC Newsline in Northern Ireland at 31 January at 18:30 GMT.
Sunday January 29 2012
**More photos onsite
Events have been held to mark the 40th anniversary of Bloody Sunday in Derry.
Relatives of the victims attended a memorial service, where both Protestant and Catholic clergy were involved, at a monument in Derry’s Bogside.
But the majority of the families refused to take part in a subsequent march that retraced the route of the ill-fated demonstration where British paratroopers killed 14 civil rights marchers on January 30 1972.
A public inquiry by Lord Saville declared all the victims to be innocent, prompting an apology from Prime Minister David Cameron in 2010.
And while many of the families are pressing for the prosecution of the soldiers involved, most of them decided to end the annual march they led for 39 years, arguing they had been vindicated by the Saville findings.
Kate and Linda Nash, whose teenage brother William was killed on Bloody Sunday, opted to continue the march.
Kate said the march should remain an annual event to help lobby for other bereaved families seeking justice.
“I am delighted with the turnout,” she said.
“But even if it had just been myself and my sister, we would still have a right to march. That is democracy. We are going to continue to march for prosecutions, but beyond that, this is a unique march and it should continue for all those who are seeking justice.”
Estimates suggested the march attracted more than 1,000 people, but the organisers believed the figure was higher.
From the Facebook group Celtic Nation. (Right-click and ‘view image’ for large size.)
27 Jan 2012
The family of a teenager shot dead on Bloody Sunday have said they are angry he is still being labelled a nail bomber.
The Saville report found that Gerald Donaghy was “probably armed with nail bombs but was not a threat at the time that he was shot”.
Gerald Donaghy 17-year-old Gerald Donaghy was one of 13 shot dead on Bloody Sunday
The 17-year-old was a member of the IRA’s youth wing, but witnesses said he did not have any bombs on him.
His family said they will fight to clear his name.
The Bloody Sunday families have planned a series of events on Friday, Saturday and Sunday to mark the fortieth anniversary of the shootings.
Thirteen people were shot dead when soldiers opened fire on marchers during a civil rights march in Londonderry on 30 January, 1972. Another man died five months later.
Gerald Donaghy’s niece Geraldine Doherty said her family are unable to move on.
“For us, it’s still not finished. We have to keep fighting on and do whatever we have to do to get Gerald’s name cleared,” she said.
“I’ll highlight Gerald’s case at every opportunity. If it takes another 38 years, I’ll do it. We’re not going away.”
A man who treated the teenager in his living room after he was shot said he was angry.
Raymond Brogan said Lord Saville’s work was not finished.
“Lord Saville has done a lot in easing the concerns and fears of people about the reptutations of their loves ones, but he never finished the job,” he said.
“I know for definite that that young man Gerald Donaghy was not carrying any bombs.”
Friday 27 January 2012
A son of one of those murdered on Bloody Sunday has said the cross community memorial service at the Rossville Street monument will be the main event to mark the 40th anniversary of the massacre.
The service, which will be held at the monument close to where many of those killed on Bloody Sunday were shot, will be held at 1pm on Sunday.
It will be attended by a Church leaders from different denominations, including First Presbyterian minister, Rev David Latimer.
It is one a series of events which will be held across the city this weekend to mark the 40th anniversary of Bloody Sunday.
Tony Doherty, whose father, Patrick, was among those shot dead by British army paratroopers, said the event is open to everyone and encouraged as many people as possible to attend.
“The main event for the families will be at the monument with the service of remembrance,” he said. “This is a public event and we are asking the people of the city to come along at 1pm and remember all the victims of Bloody Sunday, and indeed everyone who lost their lives during the Troubles,” he added.
Mr Doherty explained that the service will be ecumenical and will be led by the various clergymen. “It is an inclusive event and we are hoping that as many people as possible will come along,” he said.
A range of other events have also been organised as part of the Bloody Sunday Weekend Committee’s programme of events.
Local author and ‘Derry Journal’ reporter Julieann Campbell will be in Eason’s, Foyleside, tomorrow afternoon at 2pm to sign copies of her book, ‘Setting the Truth Free,’ which tells the story of the Bloody Sunday families’ long campaign for justice.
A Uniting Ireland conference will also be held in the Millennium Forum tomorrow afternoon and will feature contributions from Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams, Ulster Unionist MLA Basil McCrea, senior civil servant George Quigley, among others. The conference will be held from 2-4pm.
On Saturday evening the annual Bloody Sunday lecture will be delivered by leading barrister Michael Mansfield in the Millennium Forum at 7.30pm. He will be introduced on the evening by Geraldine Finucane. Admission is by donation.
On Sunday, the case of Gerard Donaghey and the ongoing attempts to clear his name will be highlighted in An Chultúrlann through drama and a panel discussion involving Eamonn McCann, Jane Winters, and members of the Donaghey family. The event will begin at 2pm.
On Monday afternoon a minute’s silence will be held at the Bloody Sunday monument on Rossville Street at 4pm to mark the anniversary of the killings.
The ‘March for Justice,’ which has been organised by the relatives of a number of those killed on Bloody Sunday will take place on Sunday. The march will assemble at Central Drive, Creggan, at 2.30pm and follow the traditional route to Free Derry Corner.
It will stop at the Bloody Sunday monument where a wreath will be laid and then move on to Free Derry Corner where speeches will be made. Darren O’Reilly will chair the platform party, which will include Linda Nash and Liam Wray. Kate Nash will deliver the main speech and Paddy Nash will sing ‘We shall overcome.’ A presentation will then be made to civil rights veteran, Ivan Cooper, who, health permitting, is planning to attend.
Meanwhile the Bloody Sunday Memorial Concert, which was due to have featured Frances Black, has been cancelled due to unforseen circumstances.
Anyone who has bought tickets can get a full refund from the Museum of Free Derry or An Chultúrlann.
22 Jan 2012
Relatives of the Bloody Sunday victims want the British paratroopers who murdered their loved ones tracked down and prosecuted “like Nazi war criminals”.
And they’re furious that a full 19 months after the Saville report was published none of the soldiers responsible has been charged.
Next Sunday marks the 40th anniversary of the atrocity which sent shockwaves around the world.
But today, the Sunday World can reveal that some relatives of those who died now claim the £200 million Saville inquiry was a waste of time.
Kate Nash, whose teenage brother Willie was killed, said: “All Saville did is make lawyers on both sides rich. It was no triumph for us.
“Saville found the paras guilty of murdering 14 innocent civilians yet nobody has been prosecuted. We want those responsible for the slaughter in the dock, and next Sunday we’ll be marching to demand justice for our loved ones.”
The planned march to the iconic nationalist landmark of Free Derry Corner has deeply divided the Bloody Sunday families.
While some like the Nash sisters support the demonstration, many others believe the days of taking to the streets to commemorate the dead are over.
Willie Nash (19), the younger brother of Irish Olympic boxer Charlie Nash, was shot dead as he went to help another victim. Kate said: “It wasn’t enough for the soldiers to murder my wee brother.
“They mutilated his body and stole from him. A ring was taken from his finger and a cross and chain from his neck. They robbed money from his pocket too. The soldiers shot Willie in the chest and kidneys.
“Then, they dragged him along the ground by the roots of his hair. When we got Willie back, his hair was literally standing on its ends. There were marks all over his body. His mouth was half-open and his teeth were covered in blood.”
Accusing the paras of “war crimes”, Kate said: “Nazi war criminals are still hunted down no matter how old or ill they are. They’re even carried into court on stretchers.
“There are double standards here. Our loved ones deserve the same justice. Fourteen innocent people were gunned down in cold blood. David Cameron’s nice words of apology mean nothing without prosecutions.”
Kate told the Sunday World how, in the hours after the shooting, soldiers and policemen taunted her brother Charlie: “On our way to the morgue, we were stopped at an Army checkpoint.
“They knew Charlie from the boxing and started to goad him about Willie being dead. Even though he was a boxer, Charlie was a lovely, gentle fellow who never got into fights. But hearing insults about Willie before his body was cold was too much. We had to grab Charlie and hold him back.”
Kate described the horrific scene in the morgue: “The dead bodies were all lying there. Charlie had to pull sheet after sheet off each corpse until he found Willie.
It was an awful experience for him.”
A policeman in the morgue then taunted the grieving boxer that his family had one less member now. “The priest restrained Charlie at that point,” his sister recalled.
Kate revealed how Bloody Sunday had wrecked her family. Her father Alex, who was on the march too, saw his son being shot. He ran out to help Willie. Alex was also shot but survived.
“Somebody said to my mother, ‘At least you’ve got your husband’ and she replied, ‘I’d rather have my son’,” recalled Kate.
“It was a mother’s natural reaction. She blamed daddy because he survived and he blamed himself too. He’d say, ‘Why wasn’t it me? I’ve lived my life’ which was nonsense because he was only 51.”
Alex Nash suffered severe post-traumatic stress until his death. “He was terrified if he saw soldiers. If there was a helicopter overhead, he’d imagine he saw paras dropping out of it. He was afraid in his own bedroom. I looked after him and I had no life because of it,” Kate said.
The Bloody Sunday paras were later awarded medals by the Queen and their commander Col Derek Wilford received an OBE.
Linda Nash, Kate’s sister, said: “After Saville, all honours should have been immediately stripped from these men. The fact they weren’t is a huge insult to the dead and we won’t rest until it happens.”
Next weekend’s march will be led by women relatives of Bloody Sunday victims carrying wreaths. Behind them, others will hold black flags. No politicians will address the rally. The only speakers will be those who lost loved ones. The event will close with the singing of the civil rights’ anthem, ‘We Shall Overcome’.
Many Blood Sunday relatives are against the march, including John Kelly whose 17-year-old brother Michael was murdered. “The vast majority of families believe the annual march has served its purpose,” Kelly said.
“Our campaign has achieved its goals. We’ve highlighted the lies and injustice carried out by the British Army and government. We are commemorating Bloody Sunday but at a memorial service next weekend at the monument to the dead.”
Liam Wray, whose 22-year-old brother Jim was killed, will address the march. He said David Cameron’s apology was “only five per cent” of what should have happened.
“I want the soldier who murdered my brother charged – to recognise Jim’s humanity. But if he admitted his guilt in court, I’d see no point in jailing him. Too much focus has been on the soldiers.
“Where justice hasn’t been done is regarding the politicians who sent the soldiers out and then defended them, the forensic scientists and the civil-servants who took part in the cover-up – all these people have escaped censure.”
Wray claimed the annual march is “a beacon of light” to those oppressed by “armies across the world in Afghanistan, Palestine and Iraq”. He added: “While there’s breath in my body, I’ll be marching.”
Mickey Bridge, a steward at the demonstration 40 years ago, was among the 14 people injured. He’ll also take part in next weekend’s march. “Bloody Sunday was state-sponsored murder and the rest is waffle,” he said.
“The prosecution service have the Saville report. I can’t understand the delay. The evidence is there. Were it anybody but British soldiers we wouldn’t be waiting 19 months later. People would have been immediately charged.”
Damien ‘Bubbles’ Donaghey, then a 15-year-old teenager ,was the first person to be shot on Bloody Sunday. He spent seven months in hospital recovering. A leg injury still gives him terrible pain and he’s due to undergo further surgery later this year.
“At the Saville inquiry, Soldier ‘A’ who shot me didn’t even have the guts to look me in the face. He hasn’t been prosecuted but that’s not the worst. Soldier ‘F’ who killed four people and wounded four more hasn’t been charged either,” Donaghey said.
But he’s most angry that senior Army officers escaped blame in Saville: “Everything was lumped on one officer, Col Wilford, and nine squaddies. They were just ‘bad apples’.
“The military and political establishment who took key decisions – and are even more guilty – got off the hook. Next Sunday, it’s important we remember that.”
January 23, 2012
This article appeared in the January 22, 2012 edition of the Sunday World.
14 January 2012
A play focusing on the Bloody Sunday families’ quest for justice is to be staged in Derry and Belfast later this month.
“Heroes with their Hands in the Air”, by Fintan Brady and directed by JP Conaghan, will be staged in The Playhouse Theatre, Derry and An Chulturlann, Belfast, to commemorate the 40th anniversary of Bloody Sunday.
The production was originally staged in 2007 before the publication of the Saville Report.
However, the script has now been re-worked following recent interviews with some of the family members.
It is, in effect, the first ‘Post-Saville’ theatre piece to be performed publicly.
Adapted from the book, “The Bloody Sunday Inquiry: The Families Speak Out”, by Eamonn McCann, the play is said to give a “powerful interpretation of loss alongside the pursuit of justice.”
Directed by JP Conaghan, “Heroes With Their Hands In The Air” portrays the families and victims’ own accounts of their relentless battle to vindicate their loved ones and themselves during the longest legal proceedings in this country’s history.
Starring in this new production are Belfast’s Liam Green alongside London-trained Derry actor Amanda Doherty.
Also in the cast are Omagh-based actor Pat McGaughey, who hails from Donegal, actress Louise Conaghan and Derry actor Micky Kelly.
The play includes a range of individual responses to what happened from 1972 until now and how their exposure in the media spotlight threatened the families’ journey. It also portrays their achievements and resilience.
The play will be staged at The Playhouse, Derry, from January 30 to February 3 (matinee Tuesday; no show Wednesday and Thursday). It is also being presented at An Chultúrlann, Falls Road, Belfast from February 8 to February 11.
By Brendan McDaid
9 January 2012
Organisers of the 40th anniversary Bloody Sunday commemoration march have said they feel the event is vital to achieve full justice.
Many of the relatives of those killed are expected to stay away from this year’s event following a ‘final’ march in 2011 after the publication of Lord Saville’s Inquiry.
The 39th anniversary march was organised in an atmosphere of celebration after the decade-long inquiry vindicated the families’ conviction that those shot in Derry on January 30 1972 were innocent.
Some of the relatives and the wounded along with civil rights veterans, however, announced their intention to organise their own march for Sunday, January 29 at 2.30pm, this year.
They have said they want to ensure the campaign continues as they await word on whether the paratroopers who shot 14 men dead and wounded dozens of others on Bloody Sunday are to face prosecution.
Kate and Linda Nash, whose brother William was shot and killed and whose father Alex was also shot and injured as he tried to reach his dying son, are among the organisers.
They said there had been a lot of interest in the event, with a succession of relatives and surviving wounded declaring they will be taking part.
The organisers held a meeting at the weekend to discuss the event, which will be staged along the traditional route from Creggan Shops, under the banner of March for Justice.
Kate Nash told the Telegraph most of the preparations had been put in place.
“We will be looking at how far we have come in 40 years. Basically the platform is planned — we will have speakers at the event but there will be no politicians,” she said. “This is a march about the people and the concerns they have.”
Speaking about the differing opinions among relatives over the march, she added: “We are very aware that the Bloody Sunday families have always remained dignified and people have made their own minds up if they want to come on the march. We have said we would encourage as many people as possible to attend all, or as many of, the events being organised as possible this year.”
It is understood the Bloody Sunday Trust will this week announce that high profile barrister Michael Mansfield QC, who represented some of the families at the Saville Inquiry, will deliver this year’s annual Bloody Sunday Lecture.
The lecture will form part of a programme of commemorations being organised separately from the march and due to be launched over the coming days.