Families reach agreement on Bloody Sunday events

Derry’s Bloody Sunday families have agreed on a way forward for all future Bloody Sunday commemorations in the city, the ‘Derry Journal’ can exclusively reveal.

After two meetings involving the 28 families of all those murdered and wounded on January 30, 1972, an overwhelming majority have agreed on plans to commemorate their loved ones from this year onwards. In place of the annual commemoration march along the route of the original civil rights march, a new Gathering of Remembrance will be held - dedicated to the “ongoing quest to establish the complete innocence” of 17-year-old Gerald Donaghy.

In a specially prepared statement released to the ‘Journal’ yesterday, the families’ said: “We invite the people of Derry and supporters from further afield to join us for one last time, on Sunday, January 30, this year, in following the planned route of the original civil rights march, from Creggan Shops to Guildhall Square.

“We believe that this year’s march should highlight similar quests for truth and justice by victims of state violence in the North (including in Ballymurphy and on the Shankill Road) and elsewhere in the world, and encourage those who have supported us over the years to now give their active support to these campaigns.

“We believe that this last act of solidarity will be an appropriate way of marking the 39th anniversary of the Bloody Sunday massacre, and of celebrating our success in setting the truth about Bloody Sunday free.”

The statement also confirms that the families and wounded have asked the Bloody Sunday Trust to take over the organising of annual commemoration events and “consider other ways of marking future anniversaries”.

Future plans will include a major annual Gathering of Remembrance at the Bloody Sunday monument (on the Sunday closest to January 30), for all the people of Derry coinciding with the timing of the original march.

The Gathering of Remembrance will be dedicated to the ongoing quest to establish the complete innocence of Gerald Donaghy, as well as remembering the deceased and the sacrifice of the wounded; a Remembrance Mass; a Human Rights Weekend; and the annual Bloody Sunday Memorial Lecture.

“Furthermore, we are confident that the excellent Museum of Free Derry will continue to be developed and expanded as the main legacy project for remembering Bloody Sunday and the Civil Rights struggle.

“We again salute all those who have stood shoulder to shoulder with us, over the last 40 years, in our campaign for truth and justice and ask you to join us on the streets on January 30 to finally complete our journey. Our victory is your victory. Go raibh míle maith agaibh.”