Sinn Féin MLA Gerry Kelly has said the decision by the Public Prosecution Service not to proceed with prosecutions of soldiers involved in the killings of 15-year-old Daniel Hegarty and two of the 14 men massacred by British soldiers on Bloody Sunday, William McKinney and Jim Wray, adds insult to injury to the families of the victims and is a bad day for justice.
Gerry Kelly said:
“Our thoughts today are with the families of Daniel Hegarty, William McKinney, Jim Wray and all those other victims of the massacre on Bloody Sunday.
“Today’s announcement that the prosecutions of former British soldiers in relation to the Bloody Sunday massacre and the murder of a child Daniel Hegarty will not go ahead is outrageous and an insult to the families of those killed.
“The families of the 14 unarmed civilians massacred by British soldiers in Derry that day and the family of Daniel Hegarty have campaigned for justice for almost 50 years with dignity and determination.
“These decisions mean that the British soldiers who gunned down these unarmed Irish civilians will never be held to account.
“The message is clear, British state forces who gunned down peaceful protestors and a child in Derry acted with impunity and are being assisted by the state to get away with murder.
“The British state has done all in its power to frustrate the families’ quest for justice since day one.
“They set up the infamous and discredited Widgery Tribunal which whitewashed the events of Bloody Sunday, they destroyed forensic evidence, focused on cover-up rather than investigation and now have effectively prevented the families from getting justice.
“The Public Prosecution Service and the justice system have failed the Bloody Sunday families and the family of Daniel Hegarty.
“This decision follows a sustained campaign by the British Tory government to lean on the judicial process with accusations that the PPS was engaged in vexatious prosecutions.
“It comes at a time when the British government is attempting to rewrite the Stormont House Agreement to put its state forces, agents and proxies beyond the law.
“This is the outworking of the proposal for amnesty for British state forces
“That is unacceptable and flies in the face of justice.
“We will continue to stand by the Bloody Sunday and Hegarty families and all those victims of British state violence and cover-up in their search for truth and justice.”