Death of Bloody Sunday campaigner

Bloody Sunday campaigner Johnny Duddy died in Derry this week aged 87, with still no date set for the release of the inquiry into the killings.

Mr Duddy was the brother-in-law of John Johnston, the second person shot by British soldiers in the 1972 massacre. Mr Johnston died of his wounds on June 16 that year.

Mr Duddy’s death comes shortly before the report resulting from the long-delayed Saville inquiry into the killing of the 14 civil rights protesters is published.

“Johnny Duddy was a tireless campaigner from the early days of the Bloody Sunday justice campaign, loyally representing the Johnston family right through until several months before his death,” victims’ spokesman Tony Doherty said.

“He will be remembered as a serious but at times jovial figure who brightened up many a gloomy day on the campaign trail.”

Mr Duddy was present on the march in 1972. Shortly before his death Mr Duddy wrote a letter to the Bloody Sunday families expressing his feelings about the campaign and the Saville inquiry.

“I am now 87 years old and must be one of the oldest alive who went through Bloody Sunday,” he wrote.

“I would love to be around to see the killers brought to justice. Nothing less.

“I never spoke at any of the meetings as I felt I had nothing to offer but I would like to see interested people abroad getting all the facts and being shown the diagrams of the shootings and the distances involved.”

The report, which had been ready for release earlier this year, was delayed until after this week’s Westminster election at the request of British military intelligence.

The uncertain result has inevitably raised fears of further delays and prevarication by the British authorities.

Mr Doherty said it was a terrible injustice that Mr Duddy had died without seeing the release of the Saville report.

“He will be fondly remembered and sorely missed by all concerned,” Mr Doherty said.

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