The Irish Republican Socialist Party wish to extend our sincere congratulations to the families of the Bloody Sunday dead and wounded, to all those who supported them and to the people of Derry for their unmovable dedication to clearing the names of those who were killed and wounded on 30th January 1972. Today they have finally been vindicated.
Today’s verdict is also a damning indictment on British military involvement in Ireland. Their involvement is one of persecution, brutalisation and oppression and this fact has been laid bare, through the Saville Report, for the entire world to see. No longer can Britain claim to have been a neutral party intent on keeping two warring factions at bay, no longer can Britain claim that their involvement in Ireland is a peaceful involvement. From the very beginning their involvement on the streets of Ireland was to keep a population of civilians in their place.
Many of those who were prominent in the Civil Rights campaign went on to become founding members of the Republican Socialist Movement and carried on their fight for justice within the IRSP and INLA. They had first hand experience of the events of Bloody Sunday and the events of that day obviously helped steer them in a certain political direction. Both Patsy O’Hara and Michael Devine, the Derry INLA hungerstrikers, cited the events of Bloody Sunday as having influenced their decisions to become involved in the military struggle for freedom in Ireland such was the huge impact of what they had experienced on that day. Patsy O’Hara was recuperating from a previous bullet wound inflicted by the British army and on the day of Bloody Sunday watched the march pass the Brandywell. Micky Devine later wrote about attending Creggan Chapel and seeing all the coffins laid out in front of him and from that moment on resolving to help rid Ireland of the British army once and for all.
It took 38 years for the truth to come out but finally, after much campaigning by many people, the British establishment have finally admitted that all those that they shot on Bloody Sunday were totally innocent. Today is a wonderful day for the families and they deserve every credit for the way in which they have conducted themselves since 1972. Their dignity has always been tempered with a silent determination to get the British establishment to admit the truth of what happened on that fateful day. There has been a lot of early speculation as to whether there should be prosecutions following the publication of this report. Our position is clear. We will take the lead of the families and if the families want to further pursue this we will continue to support their efforts.