Irish Republican News · September 24, 2011
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
Justice comes first for Bloody Sunday relatives

Britain’s Ministry of Defence has confirmed that the British government intends to make a cash payment to the families and wounded of the Bloody Sunday massacre.

Fourteen people died after British soldiers opened fire on nationalist civil rights demonstrators on the streets on Derry on January 30, 1972.

After almost four decades of cover-ups and smears against the victims, a second Bloody Sunday inquiry reported last year that the victims were innocent, and that their deaths had been unlawful.

British Prime Minister David Cameron also apologised for the killings. However, no charges have yet been brought against the soldiers responsible for the deaths, or against their commanders.

A spokesperson for the British Ministry of Defence accepted this week that members of the British Army had “acted wrongly” on Bloody Sunday and that the government was “deeply sorry”. The statement also confirmed that compensation would be paid “where there is a legal liability to do so”.

While the majority of families are to be offered the money, some said they would not accept payments under any circumstances, while others have said they will await a final decision on the prosecution of the soldiers involved.

The family of William Nash, who died, and his father Alex, who was shot going to the aid of his son, have so far been the only family to comment on the compensation issue.

Kate and Linda Nash, sisters of one of the Bloody Sunday victims, said they would not be accepting any compensation payments under any circumstances. The sisters said their aim was to secure the prosecution of the soldier who shot their brother William dead and wounded their father, Alex as he tried to comfort his son.

“It is repulsive, offensive,” Linda Nash said.

In 1974 small ex-gratia payments were made to some of the Bloody Sunday families on the basis of the now disgraced Widgery report. The payments were made without any admission of guilt.

Linda Nash said her mother had also refused that compensation.

“Speaking personally, I find the issue of compensation repulsive. I will never take any money for the murder of my brother and for the wounding of my father. No payment can compensate for the loss of a loved one,” she said.

“The MoD can do whatever they want but we have instructed our solicitor to focus on prosecutions and to have nothing to do with compensation,” she said.

A lawyer acting for Jim Wray said his client’s family believed the question of compensation should not be considered until the question of prosecutions was resolved.

According to lawyer Peter Madden, acting for a number of the families, the results of last year’s Saville Inquiry had changed the situation.

Mr Madden said his firm was now seeking compensation for its clients for the death of their loved ones, the wounding of others and “for the shameful allegations which besmirched their good names for many years”.

We have a favour to ask

We want to keep our publication as available as we can, so we need to ask for your help. Irish Republican News takes time, money and hard work to produce. But we do it because we believe it makes a difference. If everyone who reads our website helps fund it, our future would be much more secure.

For as little as £1, you can support Irish Republican News – and it only takes a minute. Thank you.

© 2011 Irish Republican News