Hibernians decry Bloody Sunday decision

The Ancient Order of Hibernians is angered by decision not to prosecute


By Irish Echo Staff

The Ancient Order of Hibernians has expressed its anger and frustration over a decision not to prosecute British soldiers involved in the Bloody Sunday killings.

AOH National Freedom for All Ireland Chair, Martin Galvin, in a statement, has reacted critically to the decision by the Northern Ireland’s Public Prosecution Service not to prosecute 15 British Soldiers accused of participating in the killings of Bloody Sunday in Derry in 1972.

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"The refusal to charge British troopers for Bloody Sunday seems to signal an undeclared amnesty or de facto immunity for these soldiers, and for others in British uniforms who carried out a shoot-to-kill policy or collusion murders for the crown, with impunity," said Galvin.

"Thirteen people were shot dead by British troopers on Bloody Sunday. Fifteen more were wounded. A British Prime Minister, David Cameron, admitted these shootings were 'both unjustified and unjustifiable.'

"Unjustifiable killings would seem to be textbook definition of murder. The British troopers who opened fire on the peaceful civil rights marchers were known and identified. What explanation can there be for only one British trooper being charged for so many murders and attempted murders?

"Moreover the crimes of Bloody Sunday did not end with these murders and attempted murders. There was a criminal cover-up that followed. British troopers gave sworn statements about non-existent gunmen and bombers to justify these murders and attempted murders to the Widgery Tribunal.

"Years later these troopers gave more testimony under oath in London, before the Saville Inquiry, where nothing said could be used against them, if they at last told the truth. Each trooper had the opportunity, after 30 years of reflection, to express remorse or give the heroic Bloody Sunday families the truth those families deserve.

"Instead these British troopers decided once again to blame their victims for getting in the way of the bullets. One Para after another swore to tell the truth then recited scripted cover stories of the sort whitewashed by the Widgery Tribunal.'

Galvin said that Saville himself noted that the soldiers had “knowingly put forward false accounts in order to justify their firing.”

And he added: "How can there be no perjury charges? The AOH has marched with the Bloody Sunday families in Derry and in demonstrations across the United States. On September 19th, hundreds of AOH members heard a briefing from Bloody Sunday campaign leader John Kelly, the brother of Michael Kelly.

"We were also able to present a grant for the Bloody Sunday Trust and Museum of Free Derry. These families are determined to fight for justice for the Bloody Sunday victims no matter how many times justice is denied. The AOH is determined to stand behind them until they get it."