The decision by the PPS to prosecute just one soldier for his role on Bloody Sunday, raised eyebrows in the Oireachtas yesterday with senators expressing surprise more British soldiers were not being pursued.
The Fianna Fáil leader in the Seanad, Catherine Ardagh, reacting to the news as it broke yesterday, said: “We know that 14 innocent unarmed civil rights protesters were killed on that day.
“I hope that the families of those victims get the justice they deserve. In my eyes, murder is murder and there is no way it can be hidden or that it falls under any other act.”
Senator Gerry Horkan, also of Fianna Fáil, said: “There are 17 surviving soldiers and two members of the Official IRA who are not being prosecuted because it has been suggested that there is not enough evidence to do so.
“Given that Lord Saville’s report concluded that all 14 victims were killed unlawfully and illegally, it is surprising that only one soldier is to be prosecuted.”
Labour Senator Aodhán Ó Ríordáin said: “It is a very emotional day for everybody in this country.
“Obviously, it is extremely emotional for the people of Derry.
“It should send a reminder to those in Britain and the British Parliament as to why the issue of Brexit and the border is so important.
“The hands of various British Governments are all over what happened in this land for many generations. They were big players in the hurt, pain, violence, murder and bloodshed.”
Sinn Féin Senator Niall Ó Donnghaile said: “There is a big question over the PPS, comment that the evidence was not sufficient.
“We all remember that joyous sense of relief that came down upon Derry on the day of the publication of the Saville Inquiry. It has now gone to a deep sense of hurt, loss and a feeling of a great injustice being further inflicted upon these families. We will watch with interest and with solidarity with the families.”
Fianna Fáil Senator Mark Daly, meanwhile, remarked: “On the news out of Derry this morning and the decision by the British establishment to make a scapegoat of one soldier, the order for what happened in Derry in 1972 went way up the chain of command.”
He continued: “What has happened in Derry now has re-traumatised the city and the families. A statement from the UK defence Minister this morning said the soldiers acted with courage and they were defending and peacemakers in Northern Ireland. We know people were murdered.”