A man wounded on Bloody Sunday has condemned plans for an historic handshake between Sinn Fein’s Martin McGuinness and Queen Elizabeth II.
Damien ‘Bubbles’ Donaghy says he’s “disgusted” that “so-called Irish republicans” will meet the Queen at an event tomorrow.
Speaking at a march and rally in Belfast at the weekend, Mr. Donaghy - the first person to be shot on Bloody Sunday - said it should never be forgotten that, 40 years ago, the British monarch “decorated the Parachute Regiment with medals of honour for their part in the murder and attempted murder of innocent people on the streets of Derry”.
He added: “The Queen’s Jubilee and future engagements in Ireland should be treated with disdain.”
The march was also attended by Linda Roddy, whose brother was among those murdered on Bloody Sunday.
She told marchers: “Does Martin forget that the Queen decorated the Parachute Regiment and that they remain decorated? Does he forget the role of the Queen’s forces in Derry and the murder of innocent civilians and children such as Manus Deery, Annette McGavigan and many more?
“I hope you are happy with your new-found friends, Martin, for they are the employers of the men who murdered our loved ones.”
The long-awaited encounter is set to take place in Belfast tomorrow.
The charity Co-operation Ireland is hosting a celebration of culture on the island of Ireland in Belfast’s Lyric Theatre and the venue will provide the stage for the first meeting between Sinn Fein and the Queen.
Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams said his party acknowledged that the meeting “will understandably cause difficulties for some republicans and nationalists, especially for those folks who suffered at the hands of British forces”.
But, he added: “We’re doing it because it’s the right thing to do, despite the fact that it will cause difficulties for our own folk. But it’s good for Ireland. It’s good for this process we’re trying to develop. It’s the right time and the right reason.”