Legacy: “There are others who live with not knowing whilst hoping for something else…”

cherry blossoms, landscape, spring

A good friend whose political views differ from mine was also in attendance on the evening before. He wondered why I did not engage in the discussion. I explained that had I done so, my comments would have presented as… “but, what about..? Until the victims of Bloody Sunday and Ballymurphy are ready to say: ‘What about Claudy and Ballykelly’ and the victims of Claudy and Ballykelly feel they can say: “What about Bloody Sunday and Ballymurphy,’ will we be where …

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On the fringes of Bloody Sunday

Preamble  Today in the light of so much glaring hindsight, it’s very hard to recapture the general experience of the time.  It was the job of us local reporters to chronicle a least half a dozen incidents a day. Although of course there were exceptions, we had settled down to a new normal that was far from normal. I wouldn’t say I was case hardened. But the regular rhythm of events had run the gamut from exciting through appalling and …

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Bloody Sunday – A Personal Reflection…

The day, the date, the unfolding news, seared on many memories. A shameful and seismic moment in our history. For younger people looking at these events, it might be interesting to know how this event was viewed by the Protestant community, and why. By the end of January 1972 there had been about 200 deaths and numerous explosions, so the NI public were getting used to death on a large scale. The average Protestant, I believe, did not really understand …

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‘Unless we start listening, we’re not going to move forward’

“Unless we start listening, we’re not really going to move forward,” says Julieann Campbell, editor of the Unheard Voices collection of women’s stories from the Troubles. She was interviewed in the latest Forward Together podcast. Julieann reflects in the podcast on the impact on her of the interviews with women about their experiences in the Troubles. “I think it has affected me on several levels, emotionally and in my work,” she says. “It is a fact that it has made …

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‘Ye are many – they are few!’

Amid the ongoing debate over Brexit, how it is to be effected, and how British democracy is to be respected, it is easy to forget how often the concept of democracy is taken for granted – at least on the east side of the Irish Sea. The complaint is frequently levelled that people all too often prefer to vote in the X Factor or Big Brother than in either national or local elections. Then again, democracy has never evolved in …

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“Justice for victims is giving them a society that works”

Justice for victims is achieved by “giving them a society that works”, says Fergus O’Dowd TD of Fine Gael.  He is a member of the Oireachtas Good Friday Implementation Committee and was appointed earlier this year by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar to lead a new Fine Gael group to develop links with Northern Ireland.  He is interviewed in the latest Forward Together podcast. Discussing how to deal with events of the past, Fergus stresses that victims and their relatives must be …

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One prosecution for Bloody Sunday. A moment to pause and reflect

Only one former paratrooper is to be charged in connection with the killings of civil rights demonstrators in Northern Ireland on Bloody Sunday in January 1972. The decision was announced by Northern Ireland’s Public Prosecution Service after relatives of the 13 men, who died on one of the darkest days of the Troubles, had marched together through the streets of Derry where the victims fell The Director of Public Prosecutions for Northern Ireland, Stephen Herron, said: “It has been concluded …

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PSNI investigation of Bloody Sunday show limits of GFA in dealing with the past.

So the PSNI are going to open an investigation into Bloody Sunday. So, in theory at least, no one  is safe from possible future prosecution. Richard Dannett, former Chief of the General Staff in the British Army notes: Soldiers gave evidence [to Saville] in good faith not fearing later prosecution. Is that good faith now to be abused? And 2010 the Nationalist community in Londonderry seemed to accept the Saville findings thus apparently closing that sorry chapter of Northern Ireland history. …

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The political vacuum is compromising the standing of the PSNI

When criticism is made from both directions it’s often said that the subject of the criticism must be doing something right.  I suspect that’s what Matt Baggott is thinking now over the rows about recent arrests on both sides of the divide. There is an alternative view of course; he may be getting it wrong across the board. Either way a small storm of whataboutery is blowing. It must not get out of hand.  Willie Frazer is a hero to …

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The PSNI investigation into Bloody Sunday is mistaken. Try them for perjury

Many people will say that if ever there was a suitable case for prosecution, it’s Bloody Sunday when paratroop soldiers shot 14 people  before the eyes of many of us around at time. But challenged on whether I approve  of the opening of a police inquiry into Bloody Sunday that will take four years , I’ve decided to come clean and say  I think it’s fundamentally mistaken. How disillusioning is this development for the many who deceived themselves when they thought closure had been …

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After “closure,” the reopening of Bloody Sunday for at least four more years

  In a statement, police said that for the investigation to be as “comprehensive and effective” as possible, they would be asking witnesses who gave evidence to the Saville inquiry to make statements to detectives. “This is because police are precluded from using Saville testimony in a criminal investigation. Details on how this process will be facilitated will be made available in the near future,” the statement said Press Release from Madden & Finucane Solicitors regarding Bloody Sunday Inquiry Report …

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Bloody Sunday soldiers to face investigation…

So, presumably on foot of the mountain of material generated by the Saville Inquiry, the PSNI is to open a major criminal investigation into the deaths of Bloody Sunday. Well, if proof were needed it certainly kills off the notion that anything that happened before 1998 has some sort of immunity. Well, yes, except that earlier in the week, the Secretary of State told families of the Ballymurphy/Springfield Park killings from about six months before (and involving the same regiment) …

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“Last January, the vast majority of families decided that the 39th Anniversary would be the last march”

Despite the declaration by the organising committee last year following the publication of the Saville Inquiry report, and the absence of endorsement by the Bloody Sunday Trust this year, a sizeable number of people took part in the 40th anniversary Bloody Sunday march in Londonderry yesterday.  Estimates range from several hundred to almost 3000. And, although Eamonn McCann doesn’t directly cite the absence of the Trust’s endorsement of yesterday’s march among the reasons for his resignation as chairman, he does register his disagreement with that decision. …

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‘Derry is a better place’

  This little quote may not be the answer to everything but is part of a quite uplifting overview in the Guardian from a Derry women of the younger generation, Jeananne Craig, “a Derry journalist now living and working in London.” Bloody Sunday was not a talking point when I, a Catholic, moved on to my predominantly Protestant grammar school. My schoolfriends growing up in the city’s largely unionist Waterside area no doubt had a different viewpoint to the one …

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Tears in the Rain comes to Golden Thread Gallery

The Belfast Telegraph is reporting a new exhibition at Belfast’s Golden Thread Gallery called “Tears in the Rain” curated by Máirtín Ó Muilleoir. This exhibition “concentrates on the role art plays in keeping hope alive through the darkest of times and conveying a sense of a shared humanity” The exhibition at the Arts Council and Belfast City Council funded gallery will include the painting “Silver Liberties” by conceptualist artist Conrad Atkinson which was banned from the Ulster Museum in 1978, …

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MoD offer compensation to Bloody Sunday families

The BBC are reporting that the Ministry of Defence has offered to pay compensation to the families of those killed and injured on Bloody Sunday. Following the Saville enquiry and David Cameron’s apology for Bloody Sunday in the House of Commons, the solicitors Madden and Finucane who represent a number of the families wrote to the Prime Minister. They asked the government what steps it was taking to “fully compensate” the families for “the loss of their loved ones, the …

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Truth recovery would benefit from Adams and McGuinness disclosures

What was supposed to be the last ‘Bloody Sunday’ march was held at the weekend in Londonderry. It was an occasion when families of those who died will have a particular outlook and the original event was a tragedy for those who lost their lives but the wider community must never forget the comprehensive attempts being made by many others to re -write the history of the context for the original march. Thankfully no -one was murdered and the deed virtually forgotten before the final bloody …

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The Last Bloody Sunday March: Changing How We Remember the Past?

The adjective ‘historic’ gets used far too often in Northern Ireland, but yesterday’s Bloody Sunday March in Derry just might be worthy of the word. In the wake of the Saville Report, the committee of the Bloody Sunday Weekend decided that this would be the last year that the march went ahead. The rationale is that the Saville Report has confirmed the innocence of the victims. It has vindicated not only those who died but also the families and supporters …

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Woodward bombshell on Troubles legacy

The unlikely figure of Shaun Woodward has blown apart the smooth surface of Westminster consensus by launching an attack on his successor for dilatoriness in tackling the legacy of the Troubles. In a long and impassioned speech in a debate on the Saville report, Woodward accused Secretary of State Owen Paterson of stalling a decision on a public inquiry into the Finucane murder and dealing with other major incidents like Claudy, Omagh and Ballymurphy. ” We can’t say to the …

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