1 May 1997 Edition

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Bloody Sunday libel case ``biggest ever''

IN WHAT COULD BE THE biggest libel case to be heard in Ireland, relatives of the Bloody Sunday dead have instructed solicitors to initiate court proceedings against Dublin newspapers, the Irish Times and the Sunday Independent.

Solicitors confirmed that the cases were being brought against the papers who printed articles by Kevin Myers in the Irish Times in January, and Conor Cruise O'Brien who wrote in the Sunday Independent in March that those on the Bloody Sunday march, ``were Sinn Fein activists operating for the IRA''.

Solicitor Patrick Sherdian said that cases were being brought against the Irish Times in the North by John Kelly and by Kay Duddy in the South, ``because the offending article appeared in both jurisdictions''

In his article Myers wrote, ``I want to know what business the families of the Bloody Sunday [dead] have in permitting their tragedy, and their losses, to be enlisted by a cause which in nine separate mass killings directly following upon Bloody Sunday took the lives of 56 people.

``The events of that day have been turned into a degrading cult of victimhood and a perverted badge of identity''. Later Myers retracted some of his comments.

Meanwhile the case against the Sunday Independent is being taken on behalf of all those wounded on Bloody Sunday under the name of Danny McGowan.

Also Derry-based solicitor Paddy MacDermott has said that he was awaiting instructions from senior counsel in Dublin before instigating proceedings against the Sunday Independent. MacDermott says he will be acting on behalf of those ``who had taken part in the march, as distinct from those wounded'', who felt they were defamed by O'Brien's comments.

An Phoblacht
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