The Bloody Sunday Memorial in Derry's Bogside.

Bloody Sunday Families 'Very Disappointed'

The Bloody Sunday families have reacted negatively to the decision by the North's Public Prosecution Service not to prosecute any former soldier for providing false evidence in relation to the events of Bloody Sunday in Derry.

A statement, issued by Madden and Finucane Solicitors, who represent the families, said. "Following today’s decision by the Public Prosecution Service not to prosecute any former soldier for providing false evidence in relation to the events of Bloody Sunday, Ciaran Shiels of Madden & Finucane said: 'The Bloody Sunday families are very disappointed at this PPS decision, but they are certainly not fooled by it.

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'Anyone who closely observed the evidence given at the Bloody Sunday Inquiry will know that members of 1 Para, and indeed senior military officers in command positions within the British Army in 1972, both individually and collectively, perverted the course of justice by concealing the criminal behaviour of their colleagues in Support Company of 1 Para, thereby ensuring that they would evade prosecution for their crimes.

'Those who gave dishonest evidence on oath also committed perjury and were clearly outside the scope of the assurance against self incrimination provided by the Attorney General at the outset of the Inquiry, which was designed to facilitate the provision of truthful evidence to the Inquiry to assist that Inquiry to reach its proper findings.

'A major cause for concern arose last week when police informed the families of the persons referred to the PPS for prosecution and not one officer in a position of command on Bloody Sunday, in particular Captain Mike Jackson, featured. The families made serious and detailed allegations in relation to Mike Jackson’s conduct on Bloody Sunday. He had personally interviewed those who admitted firing live rounds in the rear of his APC before the Paras had even departed the Bogside and was recalled to the Bloody Sunday Inquiry to explain omissions in his evidence.

'Jackson was the chief architect and puppeteer in relation to the British Army’s cover up on Bloody Sunday, yet a file does not appear to have been submitted in relation to him.

'It is of course regrettable that this decision has been communicated to us only today, some 14 years after the Inquiry’s unequivocal findings, but less than two weeks before the effective enactment date of the morally bankrupt Legacy legislation designed specifically to allow British army veterans to escape justice for its criminal actions in the north of Ireland.

'We will carefully consider the reasons we have received today and do not rule out the prospect of further legal action.” John Kelly, whose 17 years old brother Michael was murdered on Bloody Sunday said on behalf of the Bloody Sunday families and wounded:

'The families of Bloody Sunday who sit here today disappointed and perplexed by this decision not to prosecute a single soldier for perjury ask themselves rhetorically: "Why is it that the people of Derry cannot forget the events of Bloody Sunday, yet the Parachute Regiment, who caused all of the deaths and injury on that day, apparently cannot recall it?"

'The answer to this question is quite simple but painfully obvious. The British Army lied its way through the conflict in the north. Accountability was never an option. And it is clear from the events of Bloody Sunday that killing unarmed civilians and lying about the circumstances of those murders never operated as a bar to individual promotions for soldiers, but in fact helped endear themselves to their superior officers and authorities. “We consider that today’s ruling by the PPS is an affront to the rule of law and a continuation of the injustice that was perpetrated on Bloody Sunday.'”

See Ancient Order of Hibernians reaction in this week's print/digital edition of the Echo.