Bloody Sunday campaigners have urged local supporters of their long - and ultimately successful - justice campaign to throw their weight behind a march in Belfast to support the families of the Ballymurphy Massacre.
This week marks 41 years since troops from the 1st Battalion Parachute Regiment murdered eleven innocent civilians in the Ballymurphy housing estate in West Belfast - six months before they moved to Derry and committed the further atrocity of Bloody Sunday.
John Kelly, whose brother Michael was murdered on Bloody Sunday, is organising a bus to the annual Ballymurphy March this coming Sunday, August 12, and there are still seats available for those wishing to attend.
“Just as they wholeheartedly supported us during our quest for truth and justice, it is imperative that the people of Derry now show support for the families in Ballymurphy who are still waging their own struggle for truth and justice,” he said.
Mr Kelly spoke of the “major connection” between the two campaigns. “Let’s not forget that the paras who murdered people on our own streets on Bloody Sunday are the very same soldiers who, six months earlier, committed this atrocity which took the lives of eleven innocent people in Ballymurphy. This fact has, until now, largely been ignored.”
“It is so important that the families of the Ballymurphy Massacre see support coming down to them from Derry,” Mr Kelly went on.
“It will certainly give them heart in their journey towards truth and justice. Just as they showed so much fantastic support to us over the years, now it is our turn to support them every step of the way.”
On Monday, August 9, 1971, Interment Without Trial was introduced in Northern Ireland and over 600 British soldiers entered the Ballymurphy area, raiding homes and rounding up men.
Many, both young and old, were shot and beaten as they were dragged from their homes without reason. Eleven unarmed people were murdered over three days by the British Army’s Parachute Regiment, including a parish priest and a 45-year-old mother-of-eight. No investigations were carried out. Had those involved in Ballymurphy been held to account, it is believed the events of Bloody Sunday may not have happened.
The Bus to Ballymurphy will leave Rossville Street at 10am this Sunday, August 12, with tickets priced £10. Contact: 71 360880 to book your place.
As part of the Gasyard Féile, the city’s Bloody Sunday campaigners were given a special award on Friday in recognition of their outstanding contribution to the community.
The annual An Darach award was presented at Derry’s Gasyard to campaigner Geraldine Doherty, niece of Bloody Sunday victim Gerald Donaghey, who accepted it on behalf of the wider families and wounded.
Ms Doherty said she was “honoured” to receive the award, especially as she continues to campaign to clear the name of her 17-year-old uncle Gerald - the only victim of the Derry massacre left with a stain upon his reputation in the 2010 Saville Report.