Northern Ireland

British government using Legacy Act to escape ‘proper atonement’

The anniversary march was led by relatives of the Bloody Sunday victims.
The anniversary march was led by relatives of the Bloody Sunday victims.

The niece of youngest Bloody Sunday victim Gerald Donaghey has accused the British government of using its Legacy Act to escape “proper atonement” for the wrong and harm it has caused.

Geraldine Doherty was speaking at a march and rally marking the 52nd anniversary of Bloody Sunday when thirteen people were shot dead by the British army while attending an anti-internment protest in Derry. A 14th victim, John Johnston died later from the wounds he sustained on the day.

The anniversary march, which was dedicated to the Palestinian victims of the war in Gaza, once again traced the route of the original 1972 protest.

A poignant verse – “If I must die, let it bring hope” by Palestinian poet and academic, Rafaat Alareer was painted over the iconic Free Derry Corner for the anniversary. Mr Alareer was killed by an Israeli airstrike in December.

Ms Doherty said her uncle, who had just turned seventeen when he was killed, was still being denied justice.

“It is sad because the institutions of the British state have chosen, yet again, to close their books rather than acknowledge their guilt and make full and proper atonement for the wrong they have done and the harm them have caused. They are running away from the truth but the truth will find them out,” she said.

“The British government cannot be allowed to close down legacy investigations, be they in Derry, Belfast or anywhere on this island.”

Ms Doherty said the people of Derry stood with the men, women and children of Palestine. While Derry has never suffered anything on the scale of the Gaza war, she said the city knew what it was like to be punished by the state.

“Derry had one Bloody Sunday and has never been able to forget it. Gaza has had two thousand Bloody Sundays and Mondays and Tuesdays over the past four months alone,” she said.

Keynote speaker, Huda Ammori of Palestine Action thanked the Bloody Sunday families for dedicating this year’s anniversary to the victims of Palestine.

Ms Ammori said: “The people of Derry stand with Palestine and I know they will always stand with Palestine.”

The Palestinian activist said she and others like her had decided to take direct action on behalf of the people of Palestine by actively campaigning against manufacturing companies in Britain which were arming the Israeli Defence Forces.

“They can imprison us; they can take us to court but we will never give up,” Ms Ammori said.

A minute’s silence will be held at the Bloody Sunday monument at 4pm on Tuesday January 30.