Northern Ireland

Bloody Sunday chairman seeks Sinn Féin nomination for Westminster election

Bloody Sunday Trust chairman, Tony Doherty has confirmed he intends seeking the Sinn Féin nomination for Foyle in this year's general election.
Bloody Sunday Trust chairman, Tony Doherty has confirmed he intends seeking the Sinn Féin nomination for Foyle in this year's general election. Bloody Sunday Trust chairman, Tony Doherty has confirmed he intends seeking the Sinn Féin nomination for Foyle in this year's general election.

Chairman of Derry’s Bloody Sunday Trust, Tony Doherty has confirmed that he is seeking the Sinn Féin nomination to contest the Foyle constituency against SDLP leader, Colum Eastwood in this year’s general election.

Sinn Féin is expected to hold a selection convention in the coming months. It is understood at least one other party member, former mayor, Sandra Duffy, is also considering standing.

A Sinn Féin spokesman said: “At the opening of a candidate selection process, all eligible party members are entitled to seek a nomination to stand as a candidate in elections.”

Mr Doherty father, Patrick Doherty was one of 13 people shot dead on Bloody Sunday. His killing became one of the most enduring images of Bloody Sunday when his final moments as he attempted to crawl to safety were captured by French photographer, Gilles Peress.

The impact of Bloody Sunday on Mr Doherty is recorded in three books he has written about growing up in Derry and subsequently joining the Provisional IRA. He was later convicted on bombing charges and served four years in prison.

In 2017, Mr Doherty said: “I’ve always drawn a direct line between my experiences as a young child losing my father and my decision to join the IRA in 1980. It was the primary cause of me ending up in prison.”



A key figure in the campaign to secure the new Saville Inquiry into Bloody Sunday, Mr Doherty is now chairman of the Bloody Sunday Trust.

The Foyle Westminster seat was always considered an SDLP stronghold. However, in 2017, Sinn Féin’s Elisha McCallion caused a political shock when she won the seat from former SDLP leader, Mark Durkan by just 169 votes. Two years later, at the 2019 general election, that result was overturned by SDLP leader, Mr Eastwood in a landslide victory when he emerged with a 17,000 vote majority.

Following that result, and a poor showing in the 2019 local government election, Sinn Féin embarked on a major re-organisation in Derry. Sitting assembly members, Martina Anderson and Karen Mullan stepped down and were replaced by current MLAs, Pádraig Delargy and Ciara Ferguson.