A Defense Ministry spokesperson in the British government announced on Thursday, September 22, 2011 that relatives of victims of the 1972 Northern Ireland shootings by British troops, that became known as “Bloody Sunday," will be compensated.
Some relatives have already rejected the compensation.
A Ministry of Defense spokesperson 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.”
Fourteen people were killed by members of a British parachute regiment as they marched in Londonderry (also referred to as Derry) on Jan. 30, 1972. Thirteen more were wounded.
Prime Minister of Britain David Cameron had already offered an apology in June of 2010, saying that a thorough second investigation concluded after one of the longest and most costly public inquiries ever in Britain, that the Bloody Sunday shootings were “both unjustified and unjustifiable.”
“Bloody Sunday” was a seminal event in the three decades of gurilla war in Northern Ireland that claimed more than 3,600 lives from both traditions in Ireland and beyond.
Sisters Linda and Kate Nash, whose teenage brother William was among 14 innocent and unarmed men who died, stated they wanted no part of monetary compensation, but suggested the Ministry of Defense could set up bursaries (scholarships) with the money.
Victims have spent decades campaigning for justice. They had branded the original investigation into the massacre a whitewash. Now that investigation has been repudiated by the second investigation and the British government is responding with meaningful compensation.
For an expanded discussion by Reverend Harold Good of reconciliation in Ireland: Click here.