‘The time for protest has passed’ - ‘Sunday’ families

The Bloody Sunday families of Derry praised all those who supported their campaign in a statement released to the ‘Derry Journal’ yesterday.

The statement, drafted and agreed by an overwhelming majority of the 28 families and wounded, revealed plans on the way forward for annual commemorations of the Bogside massacre, including a new annual Gathering of Remembrance dedicated to the “ongoing quest to establish the complete innocence” of Gerald Donaghy.

“This month’s march will be unlike any of the previous 38 commemorations; for the first time in almost 40 years, participants will take to the streets in the knowledge that their loved ones have been officially exonerated and that the victims’ innocence has been established for all the world to see,” the families’ statement said.

“It has taken almost 40 years, but the truth about Bloody Sunday has finally been set free. This would not have happened had we not received the wholehearted support of our own community and of campaigners from further afield, who have rallied tirelessly to the call for truth and justice. We owe these supporters a huge debt of gratitude.”

Conal McFeely, who facilitated the recent family meetings, spoke of his pride at their collective achievements. “It’s highly significant that the families of all those killed and wounded have shared their views on how Bloody Sunday is best remembered. I believe people of this city will be looking to the families for the definitive plan of how we all go forward, and it is so important that the families have ownership of this particular process.” Mr McFeely said.

“Over the last 12 months, the families demonstrated their integrity and dedication to the world. The manner in which they have conducted themselves over the past 38 years must be commended. From my own point of view, it’s been a privilege and honour to be trusted by the families and involved in this process. They are very special people who, through dignity and determination, have demonstrated the power of perseverance.”