Durkan recalls 'numb and shock' of Bloody Sunday

Foyle MP Mark Durkan may have only been eleven years-old on Bloody Sunday but, like many people in Derry, it is a day he will never forget.

Mr Durkan was a first year pupil at St Columb’s College at the time of the 1972 massacre and has recalled how he heard of the slaughter in the Bogside.

“We were playing football near home when someone shouted from the pavement to tell us that the army had shot people on the march and that people were dead.

“Running home, we got more emotional and garbled versions of what had happened. I still remember hearing one man say they sent in the paratroopers and there was a massacre.

“When I got home, the TV and radio news was talking of two people being dead and others injured. The death toll on the news mounted over a number of bulletins but even before that we knew from the shocking stories from neighbours and friends many people had been cut down,” he said.

Mr Durkan, who had attended the funeral of an RUC officer killed by the IRA the previous day, also said he still remembers the arrogance of British Army officers after the shootings.

“I remember feeling both numb with shock and pulsating with anger the more I heard. The pictures of the soldiers shooting and then the arrogant excuses from senior army officers really got to me.

“One dismissed Fr Anthony Mulvey’s denunciation of murder of innocent people with the words, ‘That priest’s a liar.’ I had listened to ‘that priest’ on the previous morning thunder against the Provisional IRA when he preached at the funeral mass of Constable Gilgunn who had been murdered with a colleague in Derry that week.

“In coping with my own raw outrage at the murders of Bloody Sunday and the lies and travesty that followed, I was at least blessed to know that Fr Mulvey was right about both the Paras and the Provos,” he said.