Belfast Telegraph

'Campaign not finished yet', say Bloody Sunday families after disappointment at PPS soldier prosecution announcement

Mickey McKinney remembers waving his older brother goodbye just hours before he was shot (Liam McBurney/PA)
Mickey McKinney remembers waving his older brother goodbye just hours before he was shot (Liam McBurney/PA)
Mickey McKinney looks at a photo on the wall of the Museum of Free Derry (Liam McBurney/PA)
James Wray (left) and William McKinney, who died on Bloody Sunday (PA/Bloody Sunday Trust)
Families of those who were killed hold a press conference inside the Guildhall in Londonderry after the Public Prosecution Service announced that one solider will face prosecution for the murders of James Wray and William McKinney and the attempted murders of Joseph Friel, Michael Quinn, Joe Mahon and Patrick O'Donnell on Bloody Sunday in the city in January 1972.

The families of those killed on Bloody Sunday have said that they feel vindicated by the decision to charge a soldier with killings, but that their fight for justice is not over yet.

John Kelly, who's 17-year-old brother Michael was killed in Londonderry in January 1972, said that there was "terrible disappointment" among the families that only one soldier was being charged.

Eight of those killed during Bloody Sunday – (top row) Patrick Doherty, Bernard McGuigan, John Duddy and Gerald Donaghey, (bottom row) Gerard McKinney, Jim Wray, William McKinney and John Young (Bloody Sunday Trust/PA)
Eight of those killed during Bloody Sunday – (top row) Patrick Doherty, Bernard McGuigan, John Duddy and Gerald Donaghey, (bottom row) Gerard McKinney, Jim Wray, William McKinney and John Young (Bloody Sunday Trust/PA)

'Soldier F' will face prosecution for the murders of James Wray and William McKinney and the attempted murders of Joseph Friel, Michael Quinn, Joe Mahon and Patrick O'Donnell.

Sixteen other veterans and two ex-members of the Official IRA, all of whom were investigated, will not face prosecution.

Mr Kelly said that despite the disappointment there was a sense of victory for all the families.

"Their victory is our victory, to deny people their human rights is to challenge their humanity," he said, quoting Nelson Mandela.

"We've walked a long journey since our fathers and brothers were murdered."

He said that there was a "long legacy of hurt and injustice" in Derry following Bloody Sunday and said that the actions of paratroopers that day "prolonged the conflict"

"The full cost cannot be measured in the suffering of those killed that day, but those who suffered because of it," Mr Kelly said.

He said that the fight for justice was not yet over and that families would pursue other legal avenues to get justice.

Families of those killed during Bloody Sunday march through Bogside on March 14, 2019 in Londonderry, Northern Ireland. Today, the Public Prosecution Service will announce whether or not the soldiers accused of murdering the civilians killed on Bloody Sunday will face prosecution. Families of those killed gathered outside The Museum of Free Derry, yards from where the killings took place, before marching to the city centre hotel to hear the announcement.
Families of those killed during Bloody Sunday march through Bogside on March 14, 2019 in Londonderry, Northern Ireland. Today, the Public Prosecution Service will announce whether or not the soldiers accused of murdering the civilians killed on Bloody Sunday will face prosecution. Families of those killed gathered outside The Museum of Free Derry, yards from where the killings took place, before marching to the city centre hotel to hear the announcement.
Families of those died march through the Bogside in Londonderry, Northern Ireland, ahead of the announcement as to whether 17 former British soldiers and two former members of the Official IRA will be prosecuted in connection with the events of Bloody Sunday in the city in January 1972.
Families of those died march through the Bogside in Londonderry, Northern Ireland, towards the Guildhall ahead of the announcement. Pic: Niall Carson/PA Wire
Families of those died march through the Bogside in Londonderry, Northern Ireland, towards the Guildhall ahead of the announcement as to whether 17 former British soldiers and two former members of the Official IRA will be prosecuted in connection with the events of Bloody Sunday in the city in January 1972.
Families in the Bogside (Niall Carson/PA)
Families march through the Bogside in Londonderry (Niall Carson/PA)
John Kelly whose brother 17 year old Michael was killed in Derry on Bloody Sunday (Liam McBurney/PA)

"This is not the end of it, we will continue on and hopefully get the rest of the perpetrators brought to justice," Mr Kelly said.

"There are legal means to bring them to justice, the campaign is not finished yet."

Mickey McKinney, whose brother Willie was shot dead, said that "everyone deserves justice, including those whose loved ones were murdered by the British state".

He said it was "disappointing" for families who had not received news of prosecutions.

"We are mindful of those families who received that news today, and believe me, there are many," Mr McKinney said.

"For us here today it is important to point out that justice for one family is justice for all of us.

"We would like to remind everyone that no prosecution, or whenever it comes to it no conviction, does not mean not guilty. It does not mean that no crime was committed. It does not mean that those soldiers acted in a dignified and appropriate way.

"It simply means that if these crimes had been investigated properly when they happened, and evidence gathered at the time then the outcome would've been different."

Another member of the families said that the Bloody Sunday campaign had now achieved its three aims, the overturning of the Widery Report and a new independent inquiry, the acknowledgement of the innocence of those killed and the prosecution of those responsible.

Belfast Telegraph Digital

Daily News Headlines Newsletter

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox.

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph