A number of relatives of those murdered by British paratroopers on Bloody Sunday say they will continue to march until those responsible for the 1972 massacre are held to account.
A new group called the Bloody Sunday March Committee announced details on Tuesday of a series of events to mark the 41st anniversary of the Bogside shootings, in which 14 anti-internment marchers were shot dead.
The main event is a march which will take place on Sunday, January 27, 2013.
One of the organisers of the weekend of events - the theme of which is “End Impunity” - is Kate Nash whose brother, William, was among those gunned down on Bloody Sunday.
She told the press conference that she intends to continue marching until those responsible for the murders are brought to justice.
Earlier this month it was revealed that, to date, not one soldier implicated in the murders and the maiming of a further 14 has been interviewed, or indeed arrested, as part of the investigation.
A lawyer representing the families and wounded of Bloody Sunday said he was “staggered” that the PSNI have still made no attempts to either question or arrest any former soldier involved in the 1972 massacre.
Peter Madden, of Madden and Finucane Solicitors said there had been an “abject failure” to progress the murder investigation which was announced back in July.
Correspondence his firm has received from the PSNI confirmed that the police have yet to further the case for soldiers’ prosecutions and have yet to appoint a family liaison officer to work alongside families and those who were wounded on January 30, 1972.
Families of those murdered expressed disbelief.
Joe McKinney, whose brother William was shot dead in Glenfada Park, said he was “extremely angry”.
Citing the example of another historical inquiry, he demands a “level playing field” when it comes to investigating crimes committed by the armed forces.
“I read a newspaper report in recent months concerning the trial of a man accused of murdering Captain Robert Nairac in 1977. The Crown barrister opening the prosecution said that the passage of time must not absolve those accused of heinous crimes being brought to justice, but it appears to me to grant absolution if the person responsible for the crime wore a British Army uniform,” Mr McKinney told the Derry Journal.
“I am extremely angry that there does not appear to be a level playing field and that those responsible for the murders committed on Bloody Sunday are not being pursued with any genuine conviction or rigour by the PSNI.”
Claims that the PSNI do not have the money to advance the investigation have been dismissed.
John Kelly, whose 17-year-old brother Michael was murdered by British paratroopers on 30 January 1972, pointed out that the force had all the resources necessary for a giant security operation ahead of next year’s G8 Summit, which is to be held in Fermanagh.
“The PSNI don’t seem to be complaining about the money or the resources needed to cover the G8 Summit next year, yet still they insist they don’t have the resources needed to conduct a major murder investigation? That can’t be right.
“The fact is, we are all waiting for news of this murder investigation and now the PSNI will probably spend millions and draft in hundreds of extra personnel to police this summit of world leaders.
“Our words are falling on deaf ears. Since this G8 Summit has been announced, there has not been even a whisper of complaint from the PSNI as regards resources. Our loved ones mean nothing to them. They are second-class citizens and don’t seem to count as far as the PSNI are concerned.”
A sister of one of the teenagers murdered on Bloody Sunday said local families were still being treated like “second class citizens”.
Kay Green’s 17 year-old brother Jackie Duddy was the first fatality of Bloody Sunday.
“This is still a murder investigation and, while the PSNI take their time deciding, they need to realise that time really is of the essence here. We are all getting older, so what are they going to do - wait till either we die off or the soldiers do? That’s what it looks like to me,” Mrs Green said.
“The one thing we don’t want is to pass this responsibility on to another generation, just as it was passed to us from our parents.”
“Considering we waited so long since 1972 anyway, and the fact that it’s been two and a half years since the Saville Report was delivered, not to mention the fact that the police didn’t even have the common courtesy to inform families about the murder investigation and we actually found out about it on the news - I am really not surprised. We are only the families, after all. We’ve always been treated as second-class citizens and so it goes on - our loved ones mean nothing to them.
“They have every bit of evidence necessary - evidence that they murdered, evidence that they committed perjury - it’s all there in front of them. What more do they need?”
A second theme of the weekend’s events is the subject of cover-up, with links to the Hillsborough justice campaign in Liverpool. There is a widely held view that one reason that the soldiers have not been questioned by police is a fear that those higher up the political and military chain could become implicated in the massacre.
The families have launched a website (bloodysundaymarch.org) to pool information on the 2013 march and related talks, film-showings and other events.
Kate Nash had a message for those who believe it is time to stop campaigning.
“You are entitled to your opinion. It is your democratic right not to march,” she said. “However, I also have a democratic right to continue marching and I intend to do so.”