Bloody Sunday march criticism hurtful, says victim’s sister

Relatives of those killed on Bloody Sunday during Sunday's march
Relatives of those killed on Bloody Sunday during Sunday's march

A march commemorating Bloody Sunday and demanding the prosecution of the soldiers responsible attracted a lower than usual turnout in Londonderry at the weekend, against a backdrop of some acrimony.

Dissident republican groupings had withdrawn support for the march after organisers produced a poster referencing various attacks and massacres around the world, including some carried out by republicans.

The poster referenced, for example, the 1987 Enniskillen Poppy Day bombing, alongside other shootings, bombings and perceived injustices both in Northern Ireland and around the globe.

The dissident republican group Saoradh said they were withdrawing support for the march via a statement which referenced “the release of a reformist poster” they described as having “a political agenda not linked to Bloody Sunday”.

Kate Nash, whose brother William was one of those killed, is a member of the Bloody Sunday March committee who organised a week-long programme of events in the city culminating in Sunday’s march.

The events programme featured speakers, including Anne Morgan whose brother Seamus Ruddy was one of the Disappeared, Eugene Reavey whose three brothers were killed by loyalist paramilitaries, and Alan McBride whose wife was killed in the Shankill bombing.

Ms Nash described criticism as “hurtful” and said it was important to show “solidarity” with others who have suffered “injustice” both during the Troubles and around the world.

She told the News Letter: “The week’s events were brilliant. We had a great response. We had people speaking to us about other long-standing tragedies.

“Both communiities suffered in the Troubles and we’re all about getting truth and justice. Accountability would be our wish.”

The Bloody Sunday commemoration march has been an annual tradition in Londonderry but, following the publication of the findings of the Saville Inquiry in 2010 and the subsequent apology issued by then prime minister David Cameron, some families decided to no longer take part.

However Ms Nash, alongside some others who lost family members on Bloody Sunday, believe the marches should continue until those responsible face prosecution.