The Bloody Sunday families and the surviving wounded who were shot by the British Parachute Regiment on January 30th, 1972, have issued a statement thanking their supporters and well-wishers.
The 14 deaths and 14 woundings had left a dark cloud over Derry, but the Saville report findings had lifted that cloud, they said in the statement.
The Saville Inquiry concluded earlier this month that the British army’s shooting dead of the anti-internment protestors had been “unjustified and unjustifiable”, rewriting after 38 years the official British record that those killed had been enemy combatants.
“It has been a long journey from the beginning of the Bloody Sunday Justice Campaign to where we are today,” the families said.
“Although we have always known the truth - we can now rest easy, safe in the knowledge that our loved ones have been officially declared innocent by Lord Saville.
“It would be impossible to name all those who have helped us over the years, but please be assured we appreciate everything you have done.
“Without your encouragement and support,we would not havebeenable to stand before you on the steps of the Guildhall last week.
“Without your perseverance, the story of what happened here on Bloody Sunday would have long since been forgotten.
“Last Tuesday was a historic event for the people of Derry and beyond, and we gladly share our achievement with all of you. From within the Guildhall we could hear the cheers of the expectant Derry crowds, and this, accompanied by Lord Saville’s verdict and David Cameron’s apology, meant the world to us.
“The subsequent meeting between families and Protestant church leaders further highlighted the need for healing for all those affected by conflict.
“For decades, we, the families and the wounded, had longed for the truth to be set free and we are very grateful that so many were present to share in our sense of relief and achievement.