Belfast Telegraph

Bloody Sunday family rejects payout

Relatives of one of the Bloody Sunday victims have firmly rejected any offer of Government compensation.

Sisters Linda and Kate Nash, whose teenage brother William was among 14 men who died after paratroopers opened fire on civil rights protesters in Londonderry in January 1972, said: "I find it repulsive."

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has confirmed that moves are under way to compensate the families following representation from solicitors acting on behalf of some of the relatives but the Nash sisters said they would not take money for personal financial gain.

They added: "Not under any circumstances will I ever accept money for the loss of my brother. I find it repulsive, taking anything from the MoD. If the MoD wants to set up bursaries they can, but not in my brother's name."

Prime Minister David Cameron has already apologised to victims and said the shootings were wrong. An MoD spokesman said: "We acknowledge the pain felt by these families for nearly 40 years, and that members of the armed forces acted wrongly. For that, the Government is deeply sorry. We are in contact with the families' solicitors and where there is a legal liability to pay compensation, we will do so."

Lord Saville drew up a landmark report last year which criticised the Army over the killings, with his panel ruling that the Army fired first and without provocation. It found that all 14 who died and the others who were injured almost four decades ago were unarmed and completely innocent.

The MoD's move followed a letter sent to the Prime Minister by solicitors for the families, asking what he was going to do about Bloody Sunday. Relatives received a small payment worth a few hundred pounds from the MoD, without admitting liability, shortly after the event. The Public Prosecution Service has been considering the matter.

Madden and Finucane Solicitors represents the families of some of those killed and wounded on Bloody Sunday. Peter Madden said the 1974 ex-gratia payments to victims were based on the flawed conclusions of Lord Widgery, who reviewed the event, and were "derisory and wholly inappropriate" in amount. "The victims will not, therefore, be compensated twice as has been claimed by some commentators," he said.

Mr Madden said his firm wrote to the Prime Minister in January following Lord Saville's declaration of innocence of the victims, asking how the Government proposed to compensate them for the killings, woundings and "shameful allegations" which besmirched their good names for many years.

"The Ministry of Defence have now written to us indicating that they wish to settle all issues concerning compensation in the near future and we shall be considering this correspondence closely with those that we represent, and discussions will shortly commence with Ministry of Defence representatives in order to resolve the issue," he said.


From Belfast Telegraph