Relatives in Derry have slammed PSNI following news that not one soldier involved in the Bloody Sunday massacre has been questioned by police yet - 14 months after the murder inquiry began.
The lack of progress came to light during a meeting between families and PSNI detectives earlier this week and has been met with condemnation.
“We thought this investigation would be taken seriously, but as it is, it’s already in danger of becoming another whitewash,” said Gerry Duddy, brother of Bloody Sunday’s first fatality, Jackie Duddy.
It emerged at the meeting that there are now 12 detectives assigned to the murder investigation since September 9. However, these detectives are temporary, with PSNI now actively advertising for retired detectives in both Britain and Ireland to replace them.
“They took all this time to get a team in place and now they tell us that team is only temporary anyway? That’s a major concern for us,” Gerry adds. “It seems to us that they are stalling instead of treating this with the seriousness it deserves. Are they hoping that more people will die before the investigation gets off the ground?”
“It’s a scandalous situation,” added John Kelly, whose brother Michael was among those murdered by British paratroopers.
“Not only have they not interviewed one soldier yet, we’ve been told they’ll be interviewing civilians first so it could legitimately be a few years before they talk to anyone involved in the murders of that day.
There is a lot of time-wasting going on here. A lot of people are passing away and my fear is that some of the soldiers will pass away too before the police ever get around to questioning them,” Mr Kelly added.
The current murder inquiry is the first ever police investigation to be held into the Bloody Sunday.
Four decades ago, 13 men and boys were murdered when British paratroopers opened fire on unarmed protestors during a civil rights march in the city. Another man died later of his injuries. A further 14 more were shot or wounded.
In 2010, the Bloody Sunday Inquiry reported its findings. Lord Saville was heavily critical of the Army, finding that soldiers fired the first shot - without any warning - on Bloody Sunday. Saville’s findings also found that all of those murdered were unarmed and posed no threat.
In exonerating the victims, Lord Saville said that some of them were clearly fleeing or going to the assistance of others who were dying.
Only one victim was not fully exonerated - Gerald Donaghey.
Lord Saville ruled that Donaghey “in all probability” had nail-bombs in his pockets throughout the massacre - a claim refuted by the Donaghey family, as well as civilian and military eyewitnesses who tended to the dying teen and searched his pockets for identification.
The PSNI murder investigation is expected to last four years.