Relatives of one of football’s worst tragedies say they’ve been “truly inspired” by Derry’s Bloody Sunday campaigners.
Members of the Hillsborough Family Support Group hailed the Derry families’ quest for justice during a visit to the Bogside yesterday.
Three of the campaigners travelled to Derry with Labour MP Andy Burnham, a long time supporter of their cause.
During their visit, they talked to Bloody Sunday campaigners about how to prepare for the forthcoming publication of classified documents relating to the 1989 tragedy.
Ninety-six Liverpool FC fans were crushed to death on an overcrowded terrace at Sheffield Wednesday’s Hillsborough Stadium during a FA Cup tie.
Margaret Aspinall lost her 18-year-old son James at Hillsborough and, as Chair of the Hillsborough Family Support Group, has been campaigning for the “full truth” of what happened at the football ground for 23 years. She says she has always wanted to meet the Derry campaigners.
“It’s inspirational to finally be here - I feel so heartened by them,” she told the ‘Journal’.
“I think they have been tremendous, they just never gave up.
“The courage they have shown reminds me of all our families and I think we are united in that way - in seeking truth and justice.”
Mrs Aspinall says she will “never, ever give up” until truth and justice prevails - “just like Derry’s families didn’t give up”.
MP Andy Burnham said it was “impossible” to put a value on yesterday’s meeting.
“These are two groups of people who, while not directly comparable, have been through very similar experiences and for the Hillsborough families to be able to talk to the Bloody Sunday relatives is invaluable.”
“To have this solidarity between the two cities is really important at this stage in their campaign. They have had a lonely, hard battle over the years, as the families in Derry did, and, as we draw closer to the moment of disclosure and truth, to have the support of people here in Derry means a lot.”
Both relatives of the Bloody Sunday victims and the Bloody Sunday Trust have offered to visit Liverpool to help advise the Hillsborough campaigners “in any way we can”.
Foyle MP Mark Durkan hailed yesterday’s “very positive meeting”.
“Andy Burnham and the Hillsborough Families Support Group (HFSG) have left with a lot of ideas on how the families might get more ownership and a better shape on the release of the Hillsborough Independent Panel’s report in September ,” he said. (Also see Pages 5 and 34)