Karen Bradley shown photos of Derry schoolboy in coffin

Families bereaved by security forces’ violence who met Karen Bradley over her controversial comments on state killings gave her a photograph of an 11-year-old Derry boy in his coffin after he was shot dead by the British Army.

Friday, 8th March 2019, 12:06 pm
Updated Friday, 8th March 2019, 1:10 pm
Photo of representatives from campaign group Relatives for Justice speaking outside Stormont House in Belfast following their meeting with Karen Bradley. Among them are relatives of Sammy Devenney and Stephen McConomy

The Northern Ireland Secretary met with a number of relatives earlier this morning, including relatives of Sammy Devenney and Stephen McCononmy.

During the meeting Ms Bradley was given a number of pictures of Stephen McConomy, who was shot and killed by a plastic bullet close to his home in Derry in 1982.

The photographs of the schoolboy included one of him in his school uniform two weeks before he was killed, another of him on a life support machine and one of him in his coffin.

Representatives from the campaign group Relatives for Justice said Mrs Bradley was left “speechless” at the images.

Ms Bradley’s remarks in the Commons on Wednesday, that killings carried out by the police and military during the Troubles were not crimes, rather the actions of people “fulfilling their duties in a dignified and appropriate way”, sparked fury among some victims and political parties.

The delegation of relatives travelled to Stormont House in Belfast on Friday to discuss the furore.

Downing Street has said Prime Minister Theresa May retains full confidence in Karen Bradley.

Her comments in Westminster carried added significance as they were made a week before long-awaited decisions from the Public Prosecution Service on whether 17 soldiers involved in the Bloody Sunday will face prosecution.

Ms Bradley returned to the Commons on Wednesday in a bid to clarify the comments and, on Thursday, issued a statement of apology, saying she was “profoundly sorry”.

She flew to Northern Ireland to meet the relatives and reiterated her apology after arriving.