4 February 2010 Edition
Bloody Sunday Commemoration 2010
Saville Report must be published without further delay
Sinn Féin chief negotiator Martin McGuinness spoke to those gathered at the Bloody Sunday Commemoration in Derry, addressing the frustration felt by the families over the continuing failure to publish the report of the Saville Inquiry and the progress of the ongoing negotiations to secure the transfer of policing and justice powers.
"As a Derry man, as someone who was on the march that fateful day 38 years ago, I want to acknowledge and commend the dignity, resilience and courageous determination of the Bloody Sunday families who had loved ones murdered or wounded on that terrible day.
The dignified manner in which you have pursued the truth, to right the many wrongs that have been perpetrated against you, has been an inspiration to all of us and especially to others who also seek truth and justice. You have remained focused, determined and resolute, despite the best efforts of the British political and military establishments to derail your campaign at every opportunity.
When Tony Blair, the then British Prime Minister, announced a new inquiry under Lord Saville, peoples’ expectations were understandably raised in the hope that the end of the campaign was imminent. But few believed that we would be met with the level of obstruction and destruction of evidence that took place during the Inquiry by those who fear truth.
Given that it is now over 12 years since the announcement of the Inquiry and almost 5 years since the inquiry concluded taking evidence, you the families have again displayed tremendous patience while awaiting the outcome.
The families realise that Saville had a large volume of evidence to consider but let him be mindful of the theme of today’s march: Set the Truth Free. All of us and in particular the families of those killed or wounded, know that British paratroopers under the control of the British Government murdered 14 unarmed civil rights demonstrators and wounded and traumatised many others on their own streets in this city 38 years ago.
It is time that Saville “Set the Truth Free” so that the world will know that after its soldiers murdered your loved ones, our people, the British establishment then set about a campaign of lies and deceit in order to cover up its murderous actions. He must take all measures to ensure that his report is published without further delay. And the British government must take action to ensure that the impending Westminster election is not used as another excuse to further delay its publication.
I fully support the families in their demand that they have sight of the Report at the same time as the British Secretary of State. And I have told the British Prime Minister that.
While hopefully we are coming to the conclusion of the Bloody Sunday campaign for truth on the publication of the Saville Report, many others continue to search for truth about the circumstances of the deaths of their loved ones and they are entitled to it.
So let us send out a message of solidarity to those campaigns such as that in Ballymurphy, where 11 people were murdered in a 24-hour period, also by British Paratroopers, in August 1971; and to the Families of the Forgotten in the 26 Counties. It is time to “Set the Truth Free” on those massacres also.
I have spent most of the past week in Hillsborough Castle. We have been engaged with the DUP directly. These talks were about equality. It was about rights. Your rights, my rights, our rights. These are not negotiable. They are entitlements.
The right to a proper policing service, the right to institutions that deliver, the right to see poverty tackled. I am happy to say we have made significant progress. Institutions that don’t deliver are worthless and something I will not be involved in. I now hope we have a basis upon which nationalists, republicans, unionists and loyalists will move forward together on the basis of partnership and equality.
There is no other realistic or viable path available.
I thank the organisers of the Bloody Sunday Campaign for the tremendous work they have done through almost four decades to ensure that they get truth for their loved ones. Once again I pledge Sinn Féin’s continued support and solidarity until you achieve the conclusion which you have tirelessly campaigned for.
We conclude the march for the second year at the spot at which it was blocked 38 years ago. If the families decide that another march should take place next year, let’s determine that it continues to the intended destination of the original march – Guildhall Square."
Families want truth at last
BY PEADAR WHELAN
The sense of deep anger being experienced by the families of the dead of Bloody Sunday over the continuing refusal of the British government to make public the findings of the Saville Report was obvious to those who attended Sunday’s march to commemorate the 38th anniversary of the massacre.
Addressing the thousands who attended the commemoration on Sunday 31 January, John Kelly, whose brother Michael was gunned down on that fateful day, said “the Bloody Sunday families have faced many tests over the years and we have shown great patience, but that patience is wearing very thin”.
Added to the sense of frustration that the families of the dead and those wounded feel is their fear that the British government may “knobble” the report by ensuring that the British Ministry of Defence and those representing the British paratroopers who carried out the slaughter get to see Saville’s findings well in advance of the families.
“We have great concerns over the fact that the British government will get it first,” said Kelly. “There is the possibility that they could remove material in order to protect soldiers. We have made it clear that we don’t want any censorship.”
In his address to the crowd, Sinn Féin’s chief negotiator, Martin McGuinness, described how at last week’s talks in Hillsborough Castle he told Gordon Brown, the British Prime Minister that “Saville must report to the families and they must be given every advantage over everyone else when it comes to getting it [the report] at the same time as the British government”.
Since the then British Prime Minister Tony Blair announced in the British parliament in January 1998 that he was establishing the Bloody Sunday Inquiry to re-examine the events of January 1972, the families of the dead and wounded have met with disappointment after disappointment as the report has seen numerous delays.
These delays have fuelled a distrust in Derry and further afield that the British intend to use delaying tactics such as judicial reviews and so ensure the report is effectively shelved.
Those with most to gain by having the report shelved are not those members of the British parachute regiment who were directly responsible for the deaths and injuries of up to 30 people on 30 January 1972.
Those who will profit most if the Saville Report is scuppered will be the British political and military establishment, which sent the Paras into Derry with the intention of killing the Civil Rights Movement and the mass action of the national people who were demanding justice and equality.
And while the report is stalled another injustice is being inflicted on the families of the dead and injured of Bloody Sunday.
Of the parents of the people killed on Bloody Sunday only Lawrence McElhinney, father of Kevin, is still alive and of the people wounded on that day over half have passed away.
They died without receiving the justice they deserved; they died without an apology from the British government.
• Families of the dead and wounded on Bloody Sunday standing at Free Derry wall
• Piper playing lament at Bloody Sunday memorial
• Lawrence McElhinney, whose son Kevin was killed, releases 14 doves
Banners for Truth and Justice
The Relatives for Justice Group erected 15 banners along William Street in Derry City at the weekend to help raise awareness around Truth and Justice issues affecting communities, and issues such as collusion and cover up. The Truth banners were sponsored by the Ancient Order of Hibernians in America and are to be in place for a few weeks before being moved to various locations throughout Ireland. Pictured helping erect the banners is Sinn Féin MLA Martina Anderson.