14/03/2019

FF: Prosecution Of Bloody Sunday Soldier 'Significant'

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin TD has commended the "dignity and bravery" of the Bloody Sunday families today, as it was revealed that one former soldier will be charged with the murders of two men.

It follows an announcement by the Public Prosecution Service that 'Soldier F' will be charged with murdering James Wray and William McKinney.

Charges will also be brought for the attempted murders of Joseph Friel, Michael Quinn, Joe Mahon and Patrick O'Donnell.

13 people died on 30 January 1972 when troops fired more than 100 shots as trouble broke out at a civil rights march in L'Derry.

17 soldiers faced the possibility of prosecution, with the PPS finding insufficient evidence to prosecute the 16 others and two Official IRA men.

Responding to the announcement, after the bereaved families expressed their "terrible disappointment" at the decision, Deputy Martin said: "Since the murder of the 14 people in 1972 the journey to this point has been a long and tortuous one. Indeed, it took many years for the British government to eventually acknowledge state involvement in any murders. This process has been very worthwhile so that the people who were murdered are never forgotten and also to inform all people on this island of the bitter history of Northern Ireland before the Good Friday Agreement was finalised in 1998.

"It is clear from what Mr Stephen Herron said that the PPS had difficulties considering evidence that was not admissible due to the strict rules and he also added that the rules on probability are greater than standard criminal cases. This is why other mechanisms can assist the families if both governments could agree to establish them.

"Notwithstanding the families' inevitable disappointment today, the prosecution of Soldier F is significant given the denial of the British government for many years. The families of the victims should be honoured for their determination, dignity and continued bravery on behalf of those who were so brutally murdered and they will continue to be supported."



(JG/CM)

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