UUP Alderman Mary Hamilton has appealed for equality for those living with the aftermath of the Claudy Bombing.
She made the appeal in the wake of last week’s news that a murder investigation into Bloody Sunday was to take place (although could itself be derailed as seven former soldiers have launched a legal action to halt the inquiry and have been granted a Judicial Review).
Stressing that she had no objection to any innocent victims or their families seeking truth and justice, she said all she wanted was equality for all innocent victims and their relatives, irrespective of their background.
“I think it is unacceptable that the call for an enquiry into the mechanics of Bloody Sunday has been heard and acted on, but the victims of Claudy have, yet again, been pushed to one side,” she said.
“When I heard the news that an inquiry for Bloody Sunday will take place I just burst into tears because I feel that we have been left behind. To me we, the people of Claudy, deserve the same justice as the people of Bloody Sunday.
“I want to make it absolutely clear, I have nothing against the enquiry into Bloody Sunday. I do not condone violence of any kind against any group or individual, no matter their religion or background. We all need to be treated equally, but this seems, whatever the reason, not to be the case for the forgotten people of Claudy,” Mrs Hamilton said.
“My brother-in-law, Ellis, was shot dead on December 20 in the same year as Bloody Sunday, and on that day I had to collect his daughter from school. At that time she was only five, and I took her from school and she looked up at me and said ‘Are you taking me to see Santa?’ It was just the hardest thing in the world that I have ever done, to try and explain to that little girl that her father would not be coming home again ever. What a Christmas present that was for our family.
“And now, the news that Claudy is not getting an inquiry? It just seems that we are not getting the same level of respect as the Bloody Sunday families.
“It is not just me that is hurting, it is the entire community of Claudy, those in Teebane, Omagh, Darkley, Tullyvallen, Ballygawley and Enniskillen; they all deserve to have an inquiry as a mark respect please treat us the same.”