BLOODY SUNDAY: DEVASTATING RACIST KILLINGS

NOVANEWS

Below are 4 Articles on Bloody Sunday in Derry in 1972. I would not normally send this number in one go, but they illustrate the devastating effect the killings had on family members. They also show the strength and commitment with which people coped with their shocking, unnecessary loss and the following cover up and blaming the victims. The articles can also be read at http://www.troopsoutmovement.com/latestnews.htm
This is the day we’ve all been waiting for
Derry Journal 11/06/10
Bloody Sunday – A personal reflection by Tony Doherty
In this article – just days before the publication of the Saville report into the events of Bloody Sunday – Tony Doherty whose father, Patrick, was among those gunned down in the Bogside, argues that British prime minister David Cameron must acknowledge the enormity of the crime that Bloody Sunday was and is.
The British public, he writes, has the right to know what has been done in their name and the fact that ordinary working class families, as well as all those wounded on the day, were left to carry the burden of injustice for almost 40 years.
Ever since the unbelievable enormity of what had just taken place in the Bogside had dawned on people, around the late evening of Sunday, 30th January 1972, Derry has been waiting for the truth to be written, spoken, accepted and acknowledged, and for justice to be done. Widgery, foisted upon us as a disgraceful substitute for all of the above, has now been consigned to the judicial dustbin, forever a glaring reference for students and historians to cover-up, lies and holding the line for a murderous deed.
Bloody Sundays have happened the world over but, with the Saville Inquiry, rarely has the world seen such an unearthing of facts in order to get to the truth about a single event. With the publication of the Report of the Bloody Sunday Inquiry, Tuesday, 15th June may well turn out to the day we have all been waiting for.
Depending on who you are, or to be more exact, where you were on Bloody Sunday, your memory is forever defined by that location. Many of the younger generation of sons and daughters, or younger sisters and brothers of those directly affected, like myself, experienced the news of the event in its immediate aftermath because we were too young to be there. Ours is a memory defined by such great grief and sadness that is oft-times physically impossible to speak of. This memory will stay forever in a child’s mind.
For those who were there on that fateful day – who witnessed the shootings, the brutality, the bodies, and who were forced to scurry in terror, like slaves, away from Rossville Street into back alleys and gardens, or frog-marched like criminals – theirs is a memory defined by the horror of what they saw, heard and felt. No Inquiry or truth recovery process diminishes the memory of horror, no matter how well intentioned or acquitted.
It is important for me to say also that, for many others, especially in the Unionist or Protestant neighbourhoods of Derry, their memory may well be defined by the tenor or slant of news of the event as it travelled across the city or on the airwaves. It is probably true that many were too eager to believe that the Paras’ version of Bloody Sunday – that they had killed gunmen and bombers on the streets of the Bogside – was the true account of what had taken place and, indeed, was long overdue.
I know from having met Protestant community leaders and churchmen in more recent times, since the full course, weight and detail of the Saville Inquiry has become obvious, that it is practically universally accepted that the Paras’ or government version of the atrocity is nothing but a lie which has created a massive injustice, burdening and dividing the city of Derry for far too long.
Just resolution
Recently, when we visited London to campaign for the speedy release of the report, Lady Sylvia Hermon attended a public meeting in Westminster and spoke very eloquently about her own memories of Bloody Sunday and was very eager to understand the importance of a just resolution from the families’ perspective.
It is also true, of course, that there is an element within Unionism, often voiced locally, which is characterised by intransigence and fixated upon the need to be anything but positive. On the issue of Bloody Sunday, its resolution and the building of a city and a future in which we all can share, it is our hope that we hear other more progressive and moderate voices from within the Protestant and Unionist community, voices who are willing to accept the truth if or when it is placed in front of them, rather than hold on to old lies for political reasons.
The event of Bloody Sunday is often cast as the prelude or slipway to a long and tragic conflict. For many, the travesty of Widgery was the final straw. The innocent were found guilty and the guilty were deemed innocent. There was no real explanation as to how 13 men and boys lay dead in Derry’s cemetery. Many other young men and women rejected the previously popular demands of the Civil Rights Association or any political alternative. 1972 was the bloodiest year in the conflict. Many young men and women from this city spent the best years of their lives in prison in the 1970s, 80s and 90s. In 1981, I myself began my own prison journey after being sentenced for IRA offences. Such is the legacy of Bloody Sunday.
For much of my own young and adult life, I would have willingly ended the life of Soldier F whose name I know and whose face I saw for the first time at the Inquiry hearings in London in 2003. Soldier F killed Paddy Doherty, my father. He also killed Barney McGuigan, Michael Kelly and Willie McKinney and probably wounded several others within the space of a few minutes. He is a remorseless killer and it is, therefore, difficult to square words and deeds of forgiveness and non-vengeance with his mind-set. If truth be told, I cannot forgive someone who is not remorseful. However, in consideration of other feelings, someone once told me of this Russian proverb: “If you seek revenge, you must dig two graves.”
People power
When we go into the Guildhall next Tuesday morning, we do so as proud Irish men and women whose determined and prolonged use of people power has finally paid off. We do so expecting to see the truth written down. For those whose memories are defined by having been there on Bloody Sunday and who have known the truth because they witnessed it, seeing the truth written down is official confirmation of what they have always known but has for too long been denied.
When David Cameron’s government reflects on all of the implications of the Saville Report, he, himself, as British Prime Minister, should be mindful of what this report means, not just for us, but for the British people. We have known the truth for decades, albeit unofficial and unacknowledged.
The British public know little about Ireland but I suspect what they think they know is that their boys were over here doing a good job keeping two warring sides apart and that they have brought about peace at last. Bloody Sunday tells a different story. In terms of what we may be about to be told, Bloody Sunday was an atrocity committed by the crack Parachute Regiment of the British Army against innocent civil rights demonstrators in broad daylight in front of thousands of witnesses.
Next Tuesday, in Westminster, David Cameron must acknowledge the enormity of the crime that Bloody Sunday was and is. The British public has the right to know what has been done in their name and the fact that ordinary working class families – the Duddys, McDaids, Youngs, Nashs, Gilmours, McElhinneys, Wrays, McKinneys, Donagheys, Kellys, McGuigans and Johnstons – as well as all those wounded on the day, were left to carry the burden of injustice for almost 40 years.
Civic role
Finally, the families would like to invite the whole population of Derry to, on Tuesday, proceed from Rossville Street at 3 pm to the Guildhall Square where we will address you by telling you what will be acknowledged about our loved ones. While this occasion is very personal to us as families, we are also very clear as to the civic and inclusive nature of it.
We are asking workers, students, political groups, human rights and campaign groups, people from every walk of life in every community and neighbourhood, to join us on the day for which we have all been waiting for almost 40 years. The only banner to be carried on the procession will be that of the Bloody Sunday Justice Campaign, the banner of the families whose campaign has brought us to this day.
 Join ‘march for truth’
Derry Journal 11/06/10

Relatives of all those killed and wounded on Bloody Sunday have appealed for the public to show their support by taking part in a march to the Guildhall to coincide with the release of the Saville Report.
The long-awaited report into the 1972 massacre will be released on Tuesday when the Bloody Sunday families have asked for people to join them at 2.30pm for a short march from the Bloody Sunday monument in Rossville Street to the Guildhall, the original destination of the ill-fated civil rights march.
Tuesday’s march will pass the site of barricade 14 on William Street where a number of those who were murdered on Bloody Sunday were shot dead.
While the march makes its way from Rossville Street to Guildhall Square, representatives from each of the Bloody Sunday families will be reading Lord Saville’s report inside the Guildhall.
At 3.30pm, when the report will be released to the public, large screens erected in Guildhall Square will broadcast live coverage of British Prime Minister, David Cameron’s speech to the House of Commons on the report.
After his speech, the Bloody Sunday families and those who were wounded on the day will emerge from the Guildhall to give their reaction.
Tony Doherty, whose father, Patrick, was murdered on Bloody Sunday, said: “We would especially like to invite families throughout the North who have also lost loved ones to join us and we would request that everyone fall in behind the Bloody Sunday family members.
“The original march was stopped from reaching the Guildhall, but on Tuesday we expect to have the truth acknowledged at that same Guildhall.”
Foyle MP Mark Durkan, briefed MPs at Westminster on Wednesday on the publication of the report. “I took this initiative because I was conscious that over a third of MPs are new and also because even more senior MPs seem to be still uncertain about the parliamentary side of this landmark event,” Mr Durkan said.
‘He was the baby of the family and the Paras murdered him’
Derry Journal 11/06/10

Leo Young was 21-years-old when he gathered alongside thousands marching for civil rights on January 30, 1972. Tasked to keep an eye on his younger brother, John, he soon found himself immersed in a series of events that were to change his life forever. He spoke to the Journal’s JULIEANN CAMPBELL this week.
“I wanted to go on the march because there was 50,000 people expected and I wanted to be a part of it,” Leo explains.
“Besides that, I was the older brother and my mother specifically asked me to keep an eye out for our John who was only 17 and the baby of the family.”
Leo says local people were well aware of the violence which erupted just a week before when British paratroopers beat marchers off the beach at Magilligan.
“Before the march, we had heard rumours that this particular band of soldiers was coming to Derry, but at that time nobody had any idea just how ruthless the Paras could really be,” he says.
When the shooting began in the Bogside, Leo was on the fringe of the march and headed towards Free Derry Corner, hoping to run into his young brother on the way.
“I just presumed it was rubber bullets until people ran past saying it was proper gunfire. It seemed to get louder and closer and then I saw Joe Friel coming out of an alleyway; he had been shot in Glenfada Park and staggered out before collapsing. We carried him to a house at Lisfannon Park where some of us and a female Knight of Malta called Lafferty attended to him. There was a lot of blood and, when we opened his shirt, we discovered he had been shot in the chest. That was the first time I had ever seen anybody close to death. Thank God, I see Joe often now and he’s well.”
From the doorway of the house at Lisfannon Park, Leo could see two bodies lying across the street. “Everyone outside was crouched down sheltering, and so young Lafferty and I ran back out to try to reach them. More people arrived and we carried the younger boy into Raymond Rogan’s house. When we undid his shirt and saw the open gunshot wound, my head was really spinning, and then a doctor appeared and said we had to get him to hospital.”
No nail-bombs
Leo helped carry the injured man to Raymond Rogan’s car and soon found himself on the way to hospital. They were stopped at a checkpoint near the Long Tower Chapel.
“We were dragged out by the scruff of the neck and I pleaded with the soldiers about the young fella in the back of the car. He was still alive, I had held him and looked into his eyes, but he was dying and needed help. When I had him, he was alive but his body did not arrive at Altnagelvin Hospital until more than two hours later, around 6.30pm that night. He died in their hands, not in mine.”
One of the most contentious issues arising from Bloody Sunday was the claim that 17-year-old Gerald Donaghey, the young man Leo had helped, had four nail-bombs in his pockets. Army photographs emerged of the youth’s tight denim pockets crammed with the homemade explosives. However, Leo and every other witness who saw Gerald Donaghey know this to be a lie.
“Gerald Donaghey had definitely nothing in his pockets,” he says. “I searched his top pockets myself when I was looking for ID because nobody knew who he was. He didn’t have any ID; he was just a fresh young boy that we had to get to hospital.
“All the evidence proves that he had nothing in his pockets. If there had been any nail-bombs, an army lieutenant wouldn’t have made one of his own soldiers drive the car to the barracks. Donaghey had been shot through his pocket, too, the same pocket that supposedly held nail-bombs. In fact, the only people who found items in Gerald Donaghey’s pockets were the RUC – so you can draw your own conclusions from that.”
Leo was subsequently arrested and his clothes seized for forensic tests. He was taken to Strand barracks and then onto Ballykelly where he was interrogated throughout the night.
Lost track of time
“I had no idea so many people were dead; that John was dead – they never told me. I lost all track of time. They questioned me about how many nail-bombs the young boy had on him but, if he had been contaminated, then I would have been, too, as he had been lying over my chest.”
The following afternoon, Leo was brought back to Derry. “Back at the Strand barracks, a detective came in and asked if ‘Young’ was here. He glanced at a folder, as callous as you can imagine, before looking me straight in the face and asking: ‘How many brothers do you have?’ I said I had two, and he replied: ‘You’ve only one now’.
I didn’t really grasp what he was implying; it didn’t hit me until I was halfway home. When I reached the corner of Inishowen Gardens, I could see our house on Westway and people gathered outside and I thought, ‘Jesus no – don’t let it be true’.
“They were waiting at the door. I felt so guilty facing my mother but she just said, ‘you better go up and see him’ as he was already laid out upstairs. It was terrible, I knew John had been murdered and that was the darkest time. He had been shot near the eye and the bullet travelled down and broke his spine on the way out.”
The Widgery Tribunal investigating Bloody Sunday was held in Coleraine from February 21 until March 20, 1972, and was widely regarded as a whitewash.
Leo recalls: “That was another difficult episode in my life. I remember Widgery’s dismissive attitude; they dismissed our evidence as though we were guilty. It was tough seeing all these soldiers in dark glasses being asked nice, easy, cosy questions and their replies – ‘yes’, ‘no’, ‘I cannot recall’. We were naive, we didn’t know anything about tribunals or how they worked but it was soon blatantly obvious that it had been a total fabrication. Everybody knows that now.
Although not an ardent campaigner, Leo was relieved when the Saville Inquiry was announced and he attended every single day of the hearings.
Next Tuesday, almost 38-years later, Lord Saville will publish his report. Both tensions and expectations are understandably high.
Horrific week
“I think next week is going to be a horrific week for everyone involved. I haven’t slept properly in years and I want to get this over with. I need closure. I want to get into the Guildhall and for someone to sit me down and tell me for a fact, ‘John was innocent’.
“With the sheer volume of evidence that Saville was presented with, he has no option but to find the truth. As long as John and the others are all found to be unlawfully shot or murdered, I will be satisfied. I’m interested to know how far up the chain Saville will go. Is he going to stop with the rogue soldiers or will the responsibility be placed further up the chain of command?
“The Saville Inquiry is going to set a precedent and it is important for Derry as a whole. Our loved ones were shot by the British State – these people were sent here to protect us and they killed our own people.
“I have great faith in Saville, to be honest. I thought he was a very astute man, he listened and I suppose I’m quite confident that the truth will come out.”
‘I went to every day of evidence at the Bloody Sunday inquiry’
BBC News 11/06/10

It cost £200m and took 12 years to complete, now the findings of the Saville Inquiry into Blood Sunday will finally be published on Tuesday. But what was it like to sit through every single day of evidence?
Day in, day out, week in, week out, year in, year out. Mickey McKinney had no idea one day would change his entire life and dominate it for so long.
On 30 January, 1972, his older brother William, just 26, was shot and killed in Derry, Northern Ireland, when British soldiers opened fire on crowds during a civil rights demonstration. He was one of 13 men to die on the day; another died weeks later from his injuries. That day became known as Bloody Sunday.
Next week, the Saville Inquiry – ordered by Tony Blair in 1998 after a long campaign by the bereaved – will deliver its findings into the deaths.
Mr McKinney has sat through every single day of evidence – equivalent to five years in total – in the longest and most expensive state-funded investigation in British legal history.
He has watched 922 witnesses give evidence, including the prime minister in 1972, Sir Edward Heath, 33 policemen, 245 soldiers, 35 IRA or former paramilitary members and seven priests.
And when the inquiry switched from Derry to London for just over a year, due to fears over the safety of the military witnesses giving evidence, he became a long-distance commuter so as not to miss a thing.
“It has taken over my life, it’s there all the time and I won’t get away from it until I see the report,” he says.
Each part has been difficult to deal with for different reasons, he says. When the inquiry was in Derry, five days a week he had to walk past the spot where his brother died to get the Guildhall to listen to the evidence.
In 2001 the Court of Appeal ruled the evidence of military witnesses should not be heard there, and so in 2002 the venue switched to the Central Hall in Westminster. It’s a decision Mr McKinney felt was wrong.
“Derry should have been the place where everyone concerned gave their evidence.”
Nonetheless, for just over a year he flew to London every Sunday night and continued to attend the inquiry five days a week. He stayed in a hotel near the venue, flying home again each Friday. Relatives of others who died on Bloody Sunday did the same, but it was still a lonely and isolated existence.
“You weren’t free to be with your family.”
Inner strength
After breakfast, he would walk to Central Hall and listen to the evidence, which was often upsetting. He remembers the quiet times in the evenings when the inquiry had finished for the day. He would go to his hotel room, get dinner and just sit there.
Mr McKinney was one of two family liaison officers funded by a human rights group for the duration of the inquiry. As well as his own personal pain, he was there to support the other families through theirs.
“It took a toll on me. You were doing two jobs in one, trying to be a number of things to a number of people.”
The inquiry covered his travel and hotel expenses, but the emotional cost was huge. He says he had to draw on his inner strength to get through all the years of evidence.
“I never dreamt that I would be involved in anything like this,” he says. “I discovered a strength that I didn’t know was there. All the families found an inner strength to get through this.”
The inquiry was set up to re-examine the events of that day. The initial Widgery report – published weeks after the killings – exonerated the soldiers of blame, concluded civilians had fired on the troops first and some victims had been handling weapons. It was dubbed a whitewash by the victims’ families, who campaigned for a public inquiry to clear their loved ones’ names.
There have been highs and lows during the course of the inquiry, says Mr McKinney. He is glad it has made people “account for their actions on the day”. But some evidence he found exceptionally hard to hear, especially that of the soldier suspected of shooting his brother.
“That was a very painful day,” he says.
And he’s found it frustrating to wait so long for the findings, although he realises the inquiry has been as thorough as possible with so many witnesses.
“Anxiety levels are heightened as the days and weeks go past. We are in limbo and it’s just sitting and watching the clock now.”
He hopes the publication will give some kind of closure to the relatives. “But again it depends on what Lord Saville puts in his report. It’s only when we know what his recommendations are, that I can put closure on this.”
Troops Out Movement
Campaigning for British Withdrawal from Ireland
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