Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 1 October 2014

Split over Bloody Sunday march plan

John Kelly confirmed that a small number of families still intend to hold a Bloody Sunday march

Relatives of the victims of Bloody Sunday are divided over plans for a march to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the event in Londonderry.

The majority have said they will not take part in the march planned to retrace the route of the ill-fated demonstration where British paratroopers killed 14 civil rights marchers in January 1972.

A public inquiry by Lord Saville declared all the victims to be innocent, prompting an apology from Prime Minister David Cameron in 2010.

While pressure has continued for the prosecution of the soldiers, the Saville findings led a majority of the families to call for an end to the annual commemoration march that they had held for 39 years.

Both sets of families deny a split over the issue and will attend a memorial service at a monument to the victims in Derry's Bogside prior to Sunday's march.

John Kelly, brother of Bloody Sunday victim Michael Kelly, said: "There is a difference of opinion but the vast majority of families decided last year to end the march."

The prominent campaigner said a small number had decided to stage a march. "That's entirely up to them," he said, though he added there would be no repeat of the image of earlier years when large numbers of relatives walked at the head of the event.

Kate Nash, whose teenage brother William died on Bloody Sunday and who backs this year's march, said she was pleased with aspects of the Saville report but believed it should have gone further, especially in regards to the role of military leaders.

She added: "David Cameron's apology, I was so excited about that. I thought there would be prosecutions, but nothing really happened."

Ms Nash said the march would help press for prosecutions but she added that the annual event had also taken on significance for other victims of the Troubles and had become an international beacon for those seeking justice. "It is unique," she said. "And it belongs to the people of Derry."

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