Events of Bloody Sunday must be taken in context, insists Gregory Campbell

Gregory Campbell MP. Photo by Freddie Parkinson / Press Eye.
Gregory Campbell MP. Photo by Freddie Parkinson / Press Eye.

What happened on Bloody Sunday must be considered in the wider context of what was going on in Londonderry in early 1972, DUP MP Gregory Campbell has said.

Commenting on the announcement that one soldier is to face prosecution over the killing of civilians in the Bogside on January 30 that year, the East Londonderry representative said events that day cannot be taken in isolation.

“When events which occurred on what became known as Bloody Sunday are focused upon, they are taken in isolation from what occurred in the days leading up to 30th January. The Saville Report ignored those events, including the murder of two RUC officers Sgt Peter Gilgun and Constable David Montgomery, gunned down by a Provisional IRA sub-machine gun in the vicinity of the march just three days beforehand,” he said.

“The attempts by some to airbrush those murders from history were highlighted as recently as 2017 when a number of individuals campaigned to have the names of soldiers and police officers, including Peter Gilgun and David Montgomery, removed from a display of all those who were killed in Londonderry between 1969 and 1972.

“Whilst the events occurring in Londonderry at that time and the context in which soldiers were serving was entirely absent from the Saville Inquiry, it is relevant to how they will have viewed events on the day of the march, including an assessment of the threat they faced. Whilst the evidence in relation to Martin McGuinness’ possession of a sub-machine gun on the day of Bloody Sunday or the activities of Official IRA members on that day may not be subject to prosecutions it undoubtedly should form part of that overall picture.”

Mr Campbell added: “There are families right across Northern Ireland who have never received any proper investigation into the murder of their loved ones. The facts also remain that 90% of deaths in Northern Ireland were at the hands of illegal terrorist groups who existed solely to murder and cause destruction. There is still a disproportionate focus however on the small proportion of the 10% of deaths attributed to those who were attempting to serve the community in difficult and often very dangerous situations.”