by Theo Russell
ACTIVISTS met at the London Irish Centre in Camden on Sunday 28th January to commemorate the 14 protesters shot by the British Army in Derry in January 1972, and to assess the 35-year long campaign for justice.
The meeting was addressed by Barry McColgan, national organiser of Ógra (young) Sinn Féin, Raymond McCartney MLA from Derry, John Kelly from the Bloody Sunday relatives, Alan Brecknell of the Pat Finucane Centre, and John McDonnell MP.
Barry McColgan said the theme of this year’s march in Derry was “Hold power to account”, and called on Britain not only take full responsibility for the massacre but “to ensure that the lies about Bloody Sunday are removed from the history books”.
John Kelly said the relatives had been told by Lord Saville, who chaired the Bloody Sunday Inquiry, that its report would be published at the end of 2008 at the earliest – 10 years after the inquiry opened.
Kelly said: “We have gone 25 years to get the truth, so the families are prepared to wait. We know the truth, but it’s the admittance of the British government that’s important to us.” He said the families also want assurances that they will see the report as soon as it is published, to ensure that “nothing is hidden or deleted,” adding: “Widgery murdered the truth of Bloody Sunday – truth was the 15th victim.” Asked whether the families trusted Saville, Kelly replied: “If he delivers the report we want, then I will trust him.” He also pointed out that because of the new Inquiries Act, the Saville Inquiry “is the last to be held in an open, accountable way”.
John McDonnell MP found time in his campaign for election as Labour Party leader to speak at the meeting, and called on the British government to ensure that elections in the north of Ireland go ahead and “to move towards the re-unification of Ireland”. He also called for support for the Muslim community, which he said was “going through what the Irish community went through 20 years ago”. “People in these communities,” he said, “are beginning to understand the impact of imperialism, both in the wars it wages and their effects here in Britain.”