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Government operating Bloody Sunday 'hierarchy of care'

January 1972 - Bloody Sunday
Seamus McKinney

THE sister of a man killed on Bloody Sunday has accused the British government of operating a “hierarchy of care”.

Kate Nash was speaking after it was confirmed that British soldiers arrested in connection with the 1972 shootings in Derry will have their legal fees paid by the Ministry of Defence (MoD).

The information emerged after an emergency question was raised in the House of Commons on the arrest of a former member of the Parachute Regiment.

Thirteen people were killed when paratroopers opened fire on a civil rights march through the city in January 1972. A fourteenth died later.

As part of the ongoing investigation by the PSNI, a former soldier, known as soldier J, was arrested for questioning on November 10.

Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Northern Ireland Office Ben Wallace told North Down Independent MP, Lady Sylvia Hermon that the MoD would pay for independent legal advice for the former soldiers.

Mr Wallace said the British government recognised it had a “duty of care” to all serving and former soldiers.

However, Ms Nash, whose brother, William was shot dead, said the move stood in “stark contrast” to the government’s duty of care to the Bloody Sunday dead and wounded.

“There was scant duty of care shown when these citizens were gunned down. It seems there’s a hierarchy of care when it comes to former soldiers,” she said.

Ms Nash also called for a judicial review of the PSNI investigation to be held in Northern Ireland rather than London. The review has been sought by former soldiers who may be arrested in connection with the investigation.

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