The Bloody Sunday families have been ‘elevated above all others’ including those of Bloody Friday, TUV leader Jim Allister said on Thursday.
Almost six months after Bloody Sunday, on July 21, 1972, the IRA exploded at least 20 bombs across Belfast, killing nine people and leaving some 130 seriously injured. The atrocity was soon dubbed Bloody Friday.
After the announcement that ‘Soldier F’ would be prosecuted for Bloody Sunday, TUV leader Jim Allister said his thoughts were with “the families of innocent victims of terrorism, who never saw a public inquiry into the death of their loved ones and certainly never saw anyone prosecuted for the murder of their family members, nor enhanced compensation”.
He said that while “insatiable demands for wholesale prosecutions” may have failed because prosecutions are only possible where there is sufficient evidence, “the hierarchy that has elevated Bloody Sunday families above all others is hard to take”.
He added: “In 1972 we also had Bloody Friday, but IRA murders don’t count it seems when it comes to this distorted dealing with the past. In Londonderry in 1972 there were dozens of IRA killings and not a single charge brought for the murder of soldiers, policemen and civilians.
“Even within the confines of the events of Bloody Sunday we have the same imbalance in the investigative and prosecution approach. Lord Saville found Martin McGuinness was probably in possession of a sub machine gun that day - such a weapon had murdered two policemen just two days before. But, there was no police investigation post Saville of McGuinness’ actions that day. Why?”
“The pursuit of soldiers while terrorists go Scott free is now very much part of the rewrite of history, so promoted by IRA/Sinn Féin, who themselves still withhold information on multiple murders.”
In 2016 DUP MP Gregory Campbell lodged a complaint with the police ombudsman about PSNI investigations into Saville’s claim about McGuinness’s sub machine gun.
UUP MLA Doug Beattie said that his thoughts remained with the families “of all the innocent victims of the Troubles”.
“The PSNI looked at the evidence, passed it to the PPS and they decided - based on the evidence - to prosecute one former soldier,” he said of Bloody Sunday.
“This is the law, it must be respected by all and it is now for the courts to decide. I have long said nobody is above the law and nobody should be held to a greater or lesser standard than anyone else.”