British PM says Hillsborough disaster and Bloody Sunday share ‘common ground’

Mark Durkan MP
Mark Durkan MP

The British Prime Minister David Cameron has told Foyle MP Mark Durkan in the Commons that the Hillsborough disaster and Bloody Sunday share “common ground” - an injustice which was covered up and allowed to continue for far too long.

The SDLP MP has welcomed British Prime Minister David Cameron’s apology to the families of the 96 people who died in the 1989 Hillsborough football disaster.

Mr Durkan facilitated a meeting in Derry in July between Hillsborough campaigner Andy Burnham MP, members of the Hillsborough Families Support Group (HFSG) and representatives of the Bloody Sunday relatives – to discuss their respective campaigns for truth and justice – ahead of yesterday’s publication of the comprehensive new report into the football stadium disaster.

Questioning David Cameron in the Commons yesterday Mr Durkan said: “I join other MPs in welcoming the full and fluent apology from the Prime Minister, and the profound words of the Leader of the Opposition. Those words are authoritative because they rest on the diligent work of the Hillsborough Independent Panel that Andy Burnham MP was so right to establish.

“The Prime Minister will know that Bloody Sunday families and survivors in my constituency (Derry) have a profound empathy with those Hillsborough families that have struggled with grief compounded by grievance, and endured injustice, insult and indifference.

“Does the Prime Minister recognise that this report will not only mean that Hillsborough families are overcome with a sense of vindication, but that it will also provoke many other mixed and difficult emotions and issues? Will he ensure that relevant services are supported and supplemented to help the families and survivors of Hillsborough with those needs?”

Mr Cameron replied: “I am sure that with his experience of Bloody Sunday and the Saville Inquiry, the honourable Gentleman is completely right to say that the families will need a lot of support and help as they digest what is in the report.

“The commonality, as it were, of the two things, is that a Government should not make an apology just because something bad happened some time ago. The apology should be in respect of the fact that there is new information that injustice took place and was allowed to lie for far too long, and that false stories were got up about what happened. That is why an apology is not only right, but the necessary and correct thing to do, and that is where there is common ground between the two issues raised by the honourable Gentleman.”