Campaign to clear Saville slur taken to EU
THE family of 17-year-old Gerald Donaghy, who Lord Saville claimed was in possession of nail bombs when he was shot dead in Abbey Park on Bloody Sunday, have taken their campaign to clear his name to Brussels.
A delegation was hosted by Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson to highlight the “continued injustice perpetrated against the good name of Gerald Donaghy” by the findings of the Saville Inquiry.
A number of witnesses including Leo Young - whose brother John was shot dead on Bloody Sunday, Raymond Rogan and Dr Kevin Swords - all swore that Mr Donaghy did not have nail bombs on him when he was killed.
Dr Swords told the Inquiry: “I cannot recall seeing anything in his jacket pockets. This was the quick impression I had of his clothes but I could be wrong.”
And when shown a police photograph of nail bombs on Mr Donaghy’s body, he stated: “I can say with total conviction that he did not have these objects in his pockets when I examined him.”
Leo Young told Saville: “It has been said that four nail bombs were found on the body of Gerald Donaghy, two in his jeans pockets and two in the bottom pockets of his jeans. I simply cannot believe that - it is an impossibility.”
And Patrick Ward who claimed to be the commanding Officer of the Londonderry Fianna, the youth wing of the Provisional IRA (PIRA), at the time, even contradicted a previous claim he had made to journalists that Mr Donaghy was in possession of nail bombs.
Shown photographs of Gelamex wrapping, Mr Ward said the substance was not used to make nail bombs on Bloody Sunday.
He stated: “The detonator in EP5/28 is quite like the ones we used on the day but I am sure we did not use Gelamex on Bloody Sunday.”
Despite this testimony Saville concluded: “The evidence of those who said that they were with Gerald Donaghey on Bloody Sunday before he was shot was to the effect that he was not carrying nail bombs while they were with him.
“It is possible that these witnesses simply did not notice that Gerald Donaghey had heavy and bulky objects in his pockets. However, on balance (and making the assumption that these witnesses were telling us the truth), we consider that if Gerald Donaghey was in possession of the nail bombs when he was shot in Abbey Park, then he probably acquired them after he had been separated from the last of his companions in Glenfada Park North and shortly before he was shot.”
Following the publication of the Saville report Mr Donaghy’s family have been campaigning to clear his name.
This week in Brussels they met the Irish Government’s permanent representative in Brussels, Fergal Mythen, Fianna Fáil MEP Pat ‘The Cope’ Gallagher, Irish Culture Minister, Jimmy Deenihan, Mikael Gustafsson of the Swedish Left Party and Labour Party MEP Michael Cashman.
Ms Anderson said: “The visit by the representatives of the Bloody Sunday Families who travelled as a delegation to raise awareness of the unjustifiable stain left on the reputation of Gerald Donaghy by the Saville findings, will I am sure gain support among my fellow MEP’s that they met.
“On reading the copy of the report ‘Gerald Donaghey: The Truth About the Planting of Nail Bombs on Bloody Sunday’ given to each MEP and the Irish government representative I have no doubt they will identify with the feelings of the families.
“I congratulate Geraldine and the group on their determination and the powerful presentation they made to the MEP’s. I will now host a further meeting with MEPs in Strasbourg next week to discuss a strategy to build support for the campaign in Europe.”
Foyle Sinn Féin MLA Raymond McCartney added: “While the Saville Report was an important building block in Irish/British relations, the Inquiry’s findings left a ‘shadow’ over the Donaghy and Doherty families. We will continue our support for the families in whatever course of action they believe is necessary.”
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