DUP Councillor David Ramsey has expressed sympathy to the families of those killed on Bloody Sunday but criticised a Council motion “reaffirming the innocence of Gerald Donaghey” and “rejecting the findings of the Saville Report in relation to him.”
The motion referred to the Saville report’s acceptance of police and army testimony that the 17-year-old was armed with nail bombs on January 30, 1972, despite several civilian witnesses having told the inquiry he was unarmed.
After the motion was passed by the Council Mr Ramsey issued the following statement: “First of all the DUP would like to express their sympathy’s to all families left behind after the death of loved ones during the Troubles including Bloody Sunday.
“We in the unionist community know too well the hurt and grief that the most recent troubles have left and would support any family who would like to look for justice.
“However, we do not see how this Council can be judge and jury for Gerald Donaghey’s family and therefore we think it is wrong to be asked to do so.
“The issue for most of the PUL community is that two inquiries have now concluded, with the latest one costing almost 200 million pound.
“In Gerald Donaghey’s case it was claimed that nail bombs were planted on Gerald, this claim was rejected following both enquiries.
“The PUL community who we are elected to represent see the Bloody Sunday atrocity as an unjust hierarchy of victims because the 13 victims of Bloody Sunday were unfairly elevated above the one thousand six hundred and ninety six IRA victims, 49 per cent of the murders of the troubles.
“This included 790 Protestants, 338 Catholics and 568 not from Northern Ireland.
“We believe that the vast majority of other families who suffered will never get one enquiry never mind two.
“The unionist population question the 200 million pound Saville enquiry into 13 deaths with the absence of any enquiries into the other 3600 people murdered at the hands of paramilitary groups.
“The truth is we will probably never know exactly what happened on that day due to more than 40 years having elapsed.
“Of all the casualties on Bloody Sunday only one, named Gerald Donaghy was overtly linked to a paramilitary group, namely the IRA youth wing. The claim that nail bombs were planted on him was rejected by two enquiries. How can an enquiry costing almost 200 million pounds be rubbished by a local government Council.
“This is irresponsible and should not have been brought to this council. We will not be supporting this motion.
“People can’t have it both ways,
“Either they support Saville or they don’t.
“People were quite content to trumpet the Saville Report when it was published, now they want to pick and choose which parts of it they don’t actually support.
“The same report which was lauded by Nationalists and Republicans when it was released contained references to both Gerald Donaghy and Martin McGuinness (the report said that Martin ‘probably’ had a sub machine gun at the time of Bloody Sunday), do they support these references or is it just the bits about the soldiers they want to cherry pick?
“We also once again reiterate our sympathies to Gerald Donaghy’s family circle, who like many have lost a loved one during a major terrorist campaign. In this case this loss was caused by the bullet from a British soldier’s gun, a soldier who was brought onto the streets because of the threat of IRA actions, which resulted in this and many other tragedies.”