The commemoration, titled ‘One World One Struggle’ will take place from Thursday, January 27 to Sunday, January 30, exactly 50 years after Bloody Sunday took place.
Speaking at the launch on behalf of the families of the Bloody Sunday victims, Jean Hegarty, whose brother Kevin McElhinney was shot dead on Bloody Sunday said: “This is by far the biggest and most inclusive commemoration we’ve ever held. I, for one, would like to thank all those people who are involved. The families would like to thank both the organisers and all the people taking part, for the plays and the contributions to books and everything else.
“People are going to come from all over the world, not just to witness the events, but also to take part. Most of these people taking part weren’t even born on Bloody Sunday; unfortunately I was.
“The Weekend Committee have been running events for the last 30 years, always keeping the victims of Bloody Sunday to the forefront. The standard of these events is absolutley second to none. Everybody should be very proud of their achievements.
“Personally, I’d like to thank you all for coming here and also for remembering that Bloody Sunday is about honouring our fathers and brothers.”
Tony Doherty is the Chair of the Bloody Sunday Trust; his father Patrick Doherty was one of those killed on Bloody Sunday.
He said: “The families have had to shoulder a fairly substantial burden from the 30th of January 1972 until today.
“It’s been a long journey and we’ve been through many anniversaries right up until the present day. We’ve learned a lot of lessons in terms of how best to commemorate and at times how to celebrate our best achievements. All of that experience is going to go into the 50th anniversary and it’s going to be a very special series of events over that week and weekend and, indeed, throughout the whole of next year.
“I, personally, and I’m sure many other people in the room are proud of what we’ve done over the years and particularly since the campaign began in a formal sense in 1992. Least of all in relation to the overthrow of the Widgery Report.
“That was one of the main driving forces for us over the years in that, in a very deep but simple sense, it’s very difficult to live with the fact that someone you love has been taken away but that in the taking away, they’ve also devised a whole series of stories that were lies and slurs. So the massacre was bad enough but what happened after was worse.
“That spurred us along the way, as did the sense of loss. Many people in the room were central in setting up the campaign in 1992 in the approach to the 20th anniversary.
“The 50th anniversary will be a key event. We have a whole series of events in the overall programme. For me, I have to say it’s very exciting. I’m blessed in a sense to be given a great staff team and a great group of volunteers who work for the Trust in and around the museum. It is a genuine pleasure to be Chair of the Trust and do great work in the city along the lines of human rights, remembrance and conserving out history.”
Maeve McLaughlin, the Project Manager with the Bloody Sunday Trust, said: “This programme has a huge significance, firstly for the family and secondly for the city and the people of the city. I have no doubt that an issue that remains albeit unresolved, resounds nationally and internationally. This programme will platform everything we’ve learned and the significance of the families.”
Some of the events which will be taking place include the premier of The White Handkerchief, a play about Bloody Sunday, concerts with Damien Dempsey and The Undertones, and a series of film screenings in the Nerve Centre.
On Sunday, January 30, exactly 50 years after Bloody Sunday, there will be a Families’ Remembrance Walk, a memorial service and ‘Beyond the Silence’ which will take place at the Guildhall at 4pm, the time the shooting began in 1972.
The full programme of events can be found at www.bloodysunday50.com