‘Paras are war criminals’ - families

Geraldine Doherty reading the families statement during the Bloody Sunday memorial service. (3101PG81)
Geraldine Doherty reading the families statement during the Bloody Sunday memorial service. (3101PG81)

The paratroopers who shot and killed innocent civilians on the streets of Derry on Bloody Sunday are “war criminals” and “must be prosecuted,” those attending the 40th anniversary commemoration at the Rossville Street monument were told on Sunday morning.

Geraldine Doherty, niece of Gerard Donaghey, made the remarks during the commemoration at the Bloody Sunday monument on Rossville Street, just yards from where a number of those killed on January 30th 1972 were shot.

She also repeated her determination to continue campaigning to have her uncle’s name cleared. In his report published in June 2010 Lord Saville said that Gerard Donaghey was innocent but added that he may have been carrying nail bombs when he was shot.

His family, and many others, including doctors who attempted to treat the wounded teenager, have always rejected claims that he was carrying nailbombs and have claimed they were planted by the security forces.

Around 1,000 people attended the ceremony on Sunday, including relatives of all of those killed on Bloody Sunday and a number of the wounded. Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, Nobel Laureatte John Hume, and former civil rights leader Ivan Cooper also attended the service.

An interdenominational church service was also held led by Fr Michael Canny, adm, Glendermott, First Derry Presbyterian Minister, Rev David Latimer, and, Church of England clergyman, Rev David Jennings.

Rev Latimer said the Bloody Sunday families have shown what can be achieved when people stand together.

“We do not have every answer and there are questions yet unasked, but of this much we can be certain – together we can make a difference. Therefore let us as Catholics, Protestants, Nationalists, Unionists, Republicans and Loyalists willingly stand alongside each other, to restate and reaffirm our commitment to peace and to working in partnership with each other,” he said.

The choir from St Mary’s Church, Creggan, sang a number of hymns at the service.

Wreaths were laid by relatives at the monument on behalf of the families and by the deputy mayor, councillor Kevin Campbell on behalf of Derry City Council. Kieran Dowling from the Department of Foreign Affairs also laid a wreath on behalf of the Irish government.

Maureen Coleman, a spokesperson for the families of those killed in the Loughinisland massacre in 1994 when six people were killed by loyalist gunmen, siad that the Bloody Sunday families’ campaign for justice is an ongoing “inspiration” to all relatives who are seeking the truth about the deaths of their loved ones.

Emmett McConomy, brother of Stephen McConomy, an eleven year-old schoolboy was shot and killed by a plastic bullet fired by a British soldier close to Fahan Street in April 1982, also addressed the crowd and announced that a large commemoration will be held this year to mark the 30th anniversary of his brother’s death.

Kay Green, sister of Jackie Duddy, read out the names of all those killed on Bloody Sunday, as well as those of the wounded who have since died.

She also paid tribute to the wounded who are still alive.

A minutes silence was also held.

The commemoration service was brought to a close by Danika Breslin who sang ‘Something inside so strong.’

See pages 8, 10 and 11 for further coverage of the Bloody Sunday weekend