Northern Ireland news

Bloody Sunday campaigners overcame might of Britain

Jean Hegarty, along with George McKinney and John Kelly (right), whose three brothers were killed on Bloody Sunday, attended yesterday's launch of the 50th anniversary commemoration programme.
Seamus McKinney

THE Bloody Sunday campaign for justice showed the world that ordinary people could overcome the “might of the British establishment”, a victim's son has said.

Tony Doherty, chairman of Derry's Bloody Sunday Trust, said the importance of what relatives of the 14 men killed and the wounded should never be underestimated.

Mr Doherty, whose father, Patrick was shot dead, was speaking at the launch yesterday of the programme of events to mark the 50th anniversary next January.

It includes a range of events, including a specially commissioned anniversary artwork by Robert Ballagh.

Relatives of the dead and wounded will retrace the original march in an intimate walk of remembrance on the morning of Sunday January 30, ending in a memorial service at the Bloody Sunday monument at 11am.

There will also be a commemoration for Gerald Donaghy. The teenager was the only victim criticised by the Saville Inquiry, which concluded that he was “probably” in possession of nail bombs when he was shot but that there was no justification for his death. Eye-witnesses, including two doctors who examined him, denied the nail bomb allegations.

Composer Phil Coulter will join stars including The Undertones, Damien Dempsey, Adrian Dunbar and Bronagh Gallagher in events marking the milestone anniversary. The programme will culminate in Beyond the Silence, a public event at Guildhall Square, timed to coincide with the moment that the Paratroop Regiment entered the Bogside.

Full details are available at www.bloodysunday50.com.

Mr Doherty said the Bloody Sunday families had sent a powerful message to those struggling for justice throughout the world.

“If people stay united, even working in very difficult circumstances, great things can be achieved. The unity among the families was legendary, particularly from 1992 (when the campaign for a new inquiry was established).”

Some individual relatives have continued the annual Bloody Sunday march in opposition to a majority decision to discontinue the event in 2011. However, Mr Doherty said the 50th anniversary programme had the support of all families.

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