McAliskey to speak at Bloody Sunday rally

Kate Nash presents a Bloody Sunday badge to Gerry Conlon of the Guildford Four at the Bloody Sunday monument on Wednesday. (1101PG11)
Kate Nash presents a Bloody Sunday badge to Gerry Conlon of the Guildford Four at the Bloody Sunday monument on Wednesday. (1101PG11)

Civil rights icon Bernadette McAliskey (nee Devlin) will be the main speaker at a Bloody Sunday commemoration march in the city later this month.

The former Westminster MP will address the ‘March for Justice’ rally at Free Derry Corner on Sunday, January 27.

Mrs. McAliskey, a prominent member of the North’s civil rights movement of the late 1960s, was on the original anti-internment march in Derry on January 30, 1972.

In fact, she was about to address the 1972 rally when the Parachute Regiment stormed into the Bogside where they murdered 13 innocent marchers.

Mrs. McAliskey said she had agreed to speak at the Derry rally because “I don’t believe the real culprits for Bloody Sunday were either exposed or held to account through the Bloody Sunday Inquiry.”

She added: “I believe the British government were responsible and the people who got the blame were a handful of soldiers.

“I always believed there should have been an inquiry.

“There should have been prosecutions at the Hague. But, whatever I believe, truth and justice have not been achieved through that process and, as long as that remains the case, I’ll continue to be on platforms and forums calling for it.

“I also believe in the fundamental right to articulate dissent from a majority opinion and that right continues to be under serious threat in Northern Ireland today.”

Bernadette McAliskey currently works in a community project in South Tyrone which deals with a wide range of human rights and social justice issues.

Jim Keys, of the march organising committee, added: “The theme of this year’s March for Justice is ‘End Impunity’ and there are many issues of injustice beyond Bloody Sunday that need to be addressed today.

“The Bloody Sunday march and its associated programme of events have established themselves as an annual space and platform to explore and begin to address those issues as well as make connections between them. We encourage everyone to come and join us.”

Meanwhile, Gerry Conlon, of the Guildford Four, is urging people to attend this month’s Bloody Sunday commemoration march.

Mr. Conlon - who spent 15 years in prison from a crime he didn’t commit - made his call at the launch of a black ribbon badge at the Bloody Sunday monument on Rossville Street.