Thirty two years ago on these streets where we gather today, British soldiers murdered in the name of Queen and country. Thirty two years after the Bloody Sunday murders, the failure of successive British Administrations, both Tory and Labour, to acknowledge the part played by their military on that day has left an open wound on the psyche of nationalists and republicans on this island and left the relatives of those killed unable to bring this painful chapter to a close.
Bloody Sunday and it's aftermath was the first time in our recent history that we were able to clearly see the culture of concealment which operates within the British establishment. Within minutes of the first shots being fired by the Paras, the lies and the half-truths began to emerge. Nail bombs began to be planted on the dead and injured. In London, Downing Street was meeting to discuss the cover up, Widgery was enlisted and the plan was put into place. As far as the British Military was concerned the job was done.
What they hadn't banked on was the families of those killed and injured and the people of Derry and further afield who would not and will never accept the Widgery lie that became British fact.
The families campaigned and lobbied, not because they wanted to, but because they had no other option. That is the only reason that another Tribunal was established.
In recent times we have heard complaints about the cost of the Saville Tribunal being made by those who have a vested political interest in suppressing the truth of that day.
The reality is that if the British government were prepared to admit what the rest of the world already knows, that its soldiers murdered innocent and unarmed civilians on Bloody Sunday, and then attempted to cover it up for 32 years, then no Bloody Sunday Tribunal would have been required.
The difficulty for the British government and it,s apologists is that the truth about Bloody Sunday and its cover up makes a mockery of its claims to be an honest broker in Ireland keeping warring factions apart. The same must also be said about the truth relating to the many other killings, which the British state either carried out directly or through its surrogates in the unionist militias.
Like the Bloody Sunday families, the relatives of these victims would not and will not accept the British version. It is through their efforts that the lid is starting to be lifted on the decades long policy of collusion and cover up. I want to support those relatives who are travelling to London this week to take their demand for the truth to the heart of the British establishment.
However, the British culture of concealment is alive and well. We see and hear it each week at the Saville Tribunal and we have recently seen it with Tony Blair's refusal to publish the Cory report and act upon its recommendations. Mr Blair has had the Cory Report since last October. He has refused to move on it. He is clearly dancing to the tune of those securocrats at the very heart of the British system who are frightened that their role in the planned murder of citizens will finally be exposed.
We saw a similar attitude in Dublin last week when former Taoiseach Garret Fitzgerald and Justice Minister Patrick Cooney attacked the Barron Report into the Dublin Monaghan bombings. These men, who in the words of the Barron Report OEshowed little interest, in the Dublin Monaghan bombings were also of course responsible for the introduction of censorship and the operation of the heavy gangs. And sadly they were not alone. It is an appalling indictment of successive governments that they were content to preside over a conspiracy of silence on what happened in Dublin and Monaghan on the 17th May 1974.
Since the Bloody Sunday murders in the early 1970's and the Shoot to Kill and loyalist murder gangs in the 1980's and 1990's the British were content to hide behind the old lie that allegations of collusion were little more that republican propaganda. With the ending of censorship the new line became that bad apples may have been involved, but that collusion was not sanctioned at any level.
And this is not ancient history as some would like to have us to believe. The report by the Police Ombudsman two weeks ago into the killing of Sean Brown in Bellaghy raises serious questions for this British government and for the current regime at the top of the PSNI.
I believe that Tony Blair in his own heart knows what has to be done. I think he knows that he has not delivered, that he hasn't faced down the military establishment, that he hasn't faced down those who still pursue a war agenda in Ireland. Will he ever do this? That is a question only Mr Blair can answer.
Will Mr Blair continue to hide behind bogus legal arguments or non-existent human rights concerns or will he do the right thing? Will he publish Cory and act upon it? Will he face the relatives of those killed by British state sanctioned murder? Will he order his military mandarins to co-operate with the Tribunal in the Guildhall?
I would predict that his answers to these questions will say a lot about what direction the entire Peace Process takes in the weeks and months ahead.