Statement on PSNI investigation

What follows was issued as a Press Release by the Bloody Sunday March Committee on 29 January 2015

On the Joint Statement about PSNI investigation

Before Christmas the Bloody Sunday March Committee launched an initiative in pursuit of securing joint action with local parties and organisations in response to the halting of the PSNI investigation into the events of Bloody Sunday. Members of the committee met with Sinn Fein, the SDLP, the Bloody Sunday Trust and the Pat Finucane Centre.  After these meetings it was agreed to prepare a joint statement which everyone could sign up to in relation to this crucial matter.

In the end there were fundamental differences in the way we wanted to address the issues, which could not be bridged. The trust has decided to issue their statement today.

Key to those differences is the linked references in their statement to “the 43rd anniversary of the Bloody Sunday massacre” and “the 5th anniversary of the publication of the Bloody Sunday Report.”  There is an implication here that what happened in the Bogside in January 1972 and what happened in Guildhall Sq in June 2010 were events of equal magnitude. This is, of course, untrue. An atrocity and a report on an atrocity are not equally significant things.

While this will be obvious to all of us in Derry, it might not be so obvious to others elsewhere. That formulation of words could be used by elements not well-disposed towards the truth about Bloody Sunday to downgrade the atrocious character of the paratroopers’ assault on the people of the Bogside. An implication could be drawn that what was done on Bloody Sunday had been balanced, so to speak, by the report by Lord Saville.

In the interests of openness we include our original statement in full below.


Bloody Sunday March Committee Statement

“Nearly five years have passed since the publication of the Bloody Sunday Report which completely exonerated those who had been murdered and injured on that day and which – although failing to reflect the responsibilities of senior military or political officials – held British soldiers responsible for their deaths and injuries.

“Since then a PSNI investigation into the events of Bloody Sunday was effectively halted by the Chief Constable. Another PSNI investigation has just been started.

“We welcome this resumed investigation. We fully support the families and the injured, who have a right to a proper, speedy and effective police inquiry and a right to expect that those responsible for murder or attempted murder should be brought before the courts.

“It is understandable after all this time that some will remain sceptical as to whether the investigation will lead to those responsible for the killings and woundings being charged. This will be the test of the investigation and indeed in the PSNI themselves. It should be pursued vigorously, diligently and effectively, following where the evidence leads, no matter how high in the military or political hierarchy this might reach.

“Assurances on this score would help rebuild confidence damaged by the chief constable’s action in halting inquiries.

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Context 2017

One World One Struggle

Bloody Sunday was inflicted on the people of Derry.  But it has resonated around the world.  It is a local issue relevant to people everywhere.

Over the 45 years since British paratroopers erupted into the working-class Bogside area with rifles spitting death at civil rights marchers, representatives of victims of State violence from both sides of the Atlantic, from Africa, the Middle East and elsewhere, have travelled to Derry to take part in the annual commemoration and give substance to the idea of 'One World, One Struggle'. 

The British Government still sets its face Iike flint against telling the full truth about the Derry massacre.  A long Inquiry reported in 2010 that all the dead and wounded had been unlawfully shot. Despite this, the Report stopped well short of proposing prosecution of the killers - and pointed no finger of`blame at the senior military officers who had sent the Paras in, or at the politicians who had connived at the assault and then orchestrated a cover-up.

This is always the way when it comes to the violence of imperialism.

Only the persistence of family members and their supporters forced a police investigation. We await the outcome. One reason the British authorities fear the facts about Bloody Sunday is that this massacre cannot be ascribed to warring Irish factions. This was an authentically British atrocity.

Past commemorations have featured African Americans, Palestinians, former Guantanamo prisoners, victims of police violence in Britain etc., as well as members of other families bereaved by murder here in the North, in many cases murder inflicted by State agents and then systematically lied about to protect the same undercover agents.

Lectures, debates and cultural events are highlighted, economic struggles, women’s rights, gay rights, the rights of the environment, and many other examples of`oppression.  We have commemorated, too, the killing of other innocent people by non-State groups - Dublin Monaghan, Birmingham, Shankill, Greysteel, the Ormeau bookies, etc.

We believe that the programme we have produced this year puts Bloody Sunday in its proper context, an extreme example of the fact that, commonly, it’s innocent people who pose no threat to anyone who bear the brunt of conflict.

The trek towards truth and justice has been long and sometimes arduous. But we keep on keeping on because the cause is just and gives good example to the one world in which we all struggle. 

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