Sunday 24 September 2017

Bloody Sunday family reject pay out

Michael McHugh

Relatives of one of the Bloody Sunday victims firmly rejected any offer of British Government compensation today.

Sisters Linda and Kate Nash, whose teenage brother William was among 14 men who died after paratroopers opened fire on civil rights protesters in Derry in January 1972, said: "I find it repulsive."



The Ministry of Defence confirmed today that moves are under way to compensate the families following representation from solicitors acting on behalf of some of the relatives.



The Nash sisters said they would not take money for personal financial gain.



"Not under any circumstances will I ever accept money for the loss of my brother.



"I find it repulsive, taking anything from the MoD. If the MoD wants to set up bursaries they can, but not in my brother's name."



British Prime Minister David Cameron has already apologised to victims and said the shootings were wrong.



An MOD spokesman said: "We acknowledge the pain felt by these families for nearly 40 years, and that members of the armed forces acted wrongly. For that, the Government is deeply sorry.



"We are in contact with the families' solicitors and where there is a legal liability to pay compensation, we will do so."



Lord Saville drew up a landmark report last year which criticised the Army over the killings.



His panel ruled that the Army fired first and without provocation.



It found that all 14 who died and the others who were injured almost four decades ago were unarmed and completely innocent.



The troops also continued to shoot as the protesters fled or lay fatally wounded on the ground. One father was shot as he went to tend to his injured son, the mammoth 5,000-page report revealed.



Soldiers later insisted they had only retaliated, in an attempt to cover up the truth, according to the document - described as "shocking" by Mr Cameron.



"We found no instances where it appeared to us that soldiers either were or might have been justified in firing," it declared.



"Despite the contrary evidence given by soldiers, we have concluded that none of them fired in response to attacks or threatened attacks by nail or petrol bombers. No one threw or threatened to throw a nail or petrol bomb at the soldiers on Bloody Sunday."



Bloody Sunday was one of the worst state acts of the conflict and helped ignite 30 years of violence by the IRA.



Victims have spent years campaigning for justice and the revision of an original investigation into the massacre which they branded a whitewash.



The MOD's move followed a letter sent to the Prime Minister by solicitors for the families, asking what he was going to do about Bloody Sunday.



He described the killings as unjustified and unjustifiable.



Defining who would be eligible for compensation could be complicated as many immediate family members are already dead.



Relatives received a small payment worth a few hundred pounds from the MOD, without admitting liability, shortly after the event.



The Public Prosecution Service has been considering the matter.





Ulster Unionist leader Tom Elliott called on the Commission for Victims and Survivors to urgently report on all Troubles-related compensation payments.



"Three hundred police officers were murdered during the Troubles, 277 by the IRA. How many children and grandchildren of those who paid the ultimate price for putting themselves in harm's way to protect the rest of us have suffered as a result?



"How many missed out on a full education, or a decent summer holiday, not to mention the love, care and attention of a parent?"







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