On Wednesday 9th January 2013 people gathered around the Bloody Sunday monument on Rossville Street in Derry as Kate Nash welcomed Gerry Conlon on behalf of the Bloody Sunday March Committee to launch their Black Ribbon Commemorative Badge. It is a simple metal lapel badge representing a black ribbon with the words “Bloody Sunday 1972 – 2013”.
The sense of common experience was evident to all present. If anyone knows the depths to which the British establishment will sink in its treatment of Irish ‘political’ prisoners Gerry Conlon is one such man.
Conlon along with his late Father Guiseppe and three others were sentenced to life imprisonment based on false allegations that they had played a part in the IRA bombings of pubs in Guilford and Woolwich in 1974. Although it soon became very clear that the case against all the defendants was fundamentally flawed, all would spent many years in various British prisons for crimes they did not commit. Guiseppe died in such circumstances in 1980 and his last words to his son were: “my death will be the key to your release”.
It would be another ten years before that freedom was achieved. And today 23 years later, always prepared to lend support to other cases of injustice, his own fight for justice continues. Earlier in the day he spoke at Derry courthouse lending his support to the case for the release of Marian Price, whose detention he has described as “internment by remand”.
The original march in 1972 was organised to protest at the use of Interment by the Northern Irish government of the day and so it is fitting that someone of Colon’s standing should unveil this year’s commemorative badge.
This year’s Bloody Sunday March for Justice takes place on Sunday 27th January, leaving the shops at Central Drive, Creggan at 2.30pm. Speaking at the monument Gerry Conlon urged everyone to join the march.
There is a short video from the event below:
“The families need to see justice done.”