‘There can be no hierarchy of victims’

Sara Duddy, of the Pat Finucane Centre, has warned against creating a “hierachy of victims” from the Troubles.

She was speaking ahead of Thursday afternoon’s minute’s silence at the Bloody Sunday monument which will be attended by some of the families of those killed by the British Army or RUC during the conflict.

She added: “Sadly, there is still massive denial in some circles when it comes to accepting that hundreds more unarmed civilians were killed by the British Army/RUC in addition to those murdered on Bloody Sunday.

“On June 15, 2010, David Cameron suggested that Bloody Sunday should not be seen as the defining moment in the history of the British Army. He was wrong. Each killing by the British Army, both before and after January 30, 1972, was a defining moment for the British Army.

“More recently, the Haass talks collapsed in part because of the alleged ‘innocent victims’ lobby who perpetrate the myth that the only ‘innocent victims’ were those killed by the IRA. This is a deep insult to the hundreds of unarmed civilians killed by loyalist paramilitaries and, importantly, by state forces.”

All sides, she said, were responsible for killing unarmed civilians.

“Political unionism,” she added, “is shamefully exploiting the ‘innocent victims’ lobby because they are afraid to deal with the legacy of the conflict and their role in it. By implication they are ignoring the hundreds of civilians killed by the British Army, RUC and loyalist paramilitaries.”

“It is our view that the families of every single man, woman and child who died in this conflict deserve support, understanding and information surrounding the circumstances of their death.”