Opportunity was there to plant nail bombs: says PFC

A young Gerald Donaghey.
A young Gerald Donaghey.

A Derry-based human rights group says the security forces had both motive and opportunity to plant nail bombs on a teenager killed on Bloody Sunday.

The Pat Finucane Centre (PFC) spoke out after Lord Saville - the judge who chaired the Bloody Sunday Inquiry - stood by the tribunal’s conclusion that the Bogside teen was “probably” carrying the nail bombs when he was shot close to Abbey Park.

Lord Saville was speaking ahead of yesterday’s fifth anniversary of the publication of his mammoth report into the January 30, 1972 massacre in which 13 people were shot and killed. Another man died later.

Paul O’Connor, of the PFC, told the ‘Journal’: “It is disappointing, to say the least, that Saville has misconstrued the evidence and refused to contemplate the ‘appalling vista’ that both the British Army and RUC were capable of planting evidence.”

Mr. O’Connor also queried why “civilians, medical doctors (civilian and military) and soldiers all missed something so obvious” as four bulky nail bombs prior to their “discovery” at a British Army post adjacent to Craigvon Bridge.

“By far the most likely scenario is that the nail bombs were planted at the ‘Bridge Camp’ while the car containing Gerald’s body sat unguarded,” he says.

Meanwhile, a friend of Gerald Donaghey, who set out with him on the ill-fated march, believes the newly-established Derry and Strabane ‘super’ council should formally reject the Saville Report’s conclusions in relation to the teenager.

Conal McFeely, a well known community representative in Creggan, branded the report’s findings surrounding Gerald Donaghey and the nail bombs as its “single greatest failure”.

He added: “The Inquiry’s failure to dismiss what this entire city knows was a hasty ‘fit-up’ by the British Army leaves an undeserved and unacceptable smear on Gerry’s memory and reputation.

“Ultimately, the report of the Bloody Sunday Inquiry is, itself, tarnished in the eyes of this city by its failure to address this cover-up properly.”

Mr. McFeely believes that, as a gesture towards the Donaghey family, the new Derry City and Strabane District Council should affirm his complete innocence and formally reject the Bloody Sunday Report’s conclusions in relation to Gerry Donaghey.

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Bloody Sunday: Campaigners still angry at Saville’s Gerald Donaghey findings