Bloody Sunday: the joy of the relatives


The victims of Bloody Sunday were innocent and their names have been cleared, a relative said yesterday. Tony Doherty, whose father Paddy died when paratroopers opened fire, said the victims had been vindicated and the Parachute Regiment disgraced.
To loud applause outside the Guildhall in Derry, he addressed thousands who had gathered to hear the conclusions of the Saville Inquiry. He said: “It can now be proclaimed to the world that the dead and the wounded of Bloody Sunday, civil rights marchers, one and all, were innocent, one and all, gunned down on their own streets by soldiers who had been given to believe that they could kill with perfect impunity.” Thousands packed the square as relatives of the dead lined up to give their reaction. Massive pictures of the protesters were carried aloft on banners and a minute’s silence was held to remember the dead. Earlier, two thumbs raised by somebody inside the Guildhall symbolised the families’ delight.
Mr Doherty said: “It was the paratroopers’ mission in Derry to massacre. Bloody Sunday wounded Derry very, very badly. We may hope that from today we can begin to bind those wounds.” He said: “When the state kills its citizens, it is in the interests of all that those responsible be held to account. It is not just Derry, or one section of the people, but democracy itself which needs to look out. “The British people need to know, the Irish people need to know, the world now knows.” He said they were standing up for others who were suffering at the hands of unaccountable power and named the victims of Gaza and South Africa among their co-sufferers.
He added that Bloody Sunday was the price that the Catholic Bogside paid for Free Derry, when it barred soldiers from the streets, and also referred to other victims of state massacres. “Let our truth stand as their truth too. Bloody Sunday was a great injustice but the fight for truth and justice has also been an inspiration to us and the people of Derry also,” he said. “Nobody who died in the struggle for justice will be forgotten here.” Michael McKinney, whose 27-year-old brother was shot dead, said: “My brother was murdered by paratroopers on Bloody Sunday. This is a historic day for Derry”. “Today the waiting has come to an end”. Nineteen-year-old William Nash was killed by a single shot to his chest. Eyewitness accounts state that Nash was unarmed and was going to the aid of someone else when he himself was shot. His sister Kate Nash said: “We know he was innocent, we’ve always known and now the world knows”. Jim Wray was 22 when he was shot twice, the first bullet travelled ‘superficially’ from right to left across his body, the second bullet entered his back and travelled from right to left.
Eyewitnesses said Wray was shot and wounded and then was shot dead, from close range, while he lay on the ground. His family said: “He was deliberately shot. This inquiry has vindicated the Wray family and much more so the people of Derry. We always knew the truth”, his family said. “Jim was innocent. Jim was murdered”.


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