Bloody Sunday January 30th 1972 changed the course of Irish history when it occurred on the streets of the Bogside, Derry. On that day the 1st battalion of the Parachute Regiment opened fire on a peaceful civil rights march and murdered 14 innocent civilians in a 15 minute time frame in which the British Army claimed that they shot gunmen and bombers. This claim was always denied by the relatives of those murdered and the people of Derry and indeed they were proved innocent by the saville report in to Bloody Sunday.
The Bloody Sunday massacre was carried out by the British Army on a civil rights march in Derry City, Ireland. This march was organised to demand that Irish Catholics were given equal rights in the northern state. These rights were not extortionate demands for independence for Ireland but for three simple demands. A right to a fair vote, fair job and proper housing would hardly be deemed revolutionary. Everything in this northern state was done along sectarian lines and this was the reason for the Civil Rights Association coming into being in 1967. Irish Catholics were being denied the same rights as Protestants in their own country. The Civil Rights Association would be seen as a challenge to the status quo of the Protestant run six county state.
Bloody Sunday was the British Governments response to its Irish citizen’s demands for basic civil rights. On that day in January the British government and its army put down what it saw as a peoples revolt and in doing so it also killed off the Civil Right Association, an organisation that used peaceful means to achieve its aims. The Bloody Sunday massacre would act as a recruitment officer for the Provisional Irish Republican Army, whose numbers rose dramatically in the aftermath of Bloody Sunday. Of the 14 people that were murdered that day six of them were 17 year old boys with the vast majority of the victims being shot in the back as they fled from the British Army assault.
The first tribunal into the massacre exonerated the British Army for any wrong doing and blamed the victims. The highest Judge in Britain Lord Widgery carried out this tribunal, which is known now throughout the world as the white wash, because that is exactly what it did. The second tribunal into the massacre was carried out by Lord Saville in which after twelve years from start to finish found the opposite of the Widgery Report. Lord Saville would find that there was no set of circumstances that would justify one of the killings never mind fourteen. This report was published June 2010 at Derry’s Guildhall in front of thousands of friends and supporters. This on the 15th
report was followed up by a full public apology by the British Prime Minister David Cameron live from the British House of Commons.
Patrick Joseph Doherty was 31 when he was shot in the back by soldier F as he attempted to crawl to safety, just below block 2 of the Rossville flats in Derry’s Bogside. Patrick Joseph Doherty was the father of six children of which me being the youngest at 8 months old and my brother Paul was 7. Bogside History Tours was set up in April 2013 to offer visitors to Derry the authentic and detailed account of the day of Bloody Sunday its aftermath and both inquiries. This walking tour offers the visitor the personal insight in to Bloody Sunday and the judicial investigations from a family perspective. This tour is a testimony to the families of the dead and injured that no matter what obstacles the British government or the British Army put in our way we kept on chipping away at the lie that was Bloody Sunday.
Paul, my brother, originally set up Bogside History Tours in 2013 and when I graduated with degree in Irish History and Politics in May (2013) I began doing the Bloody Sunday tour as well. The tour begins at the Guildhall in the centre of Derry where the original march was to finish and makes its way over to the Bogside, through Glenfada Park and finishes at the Bloody Sunday monument on Rossville Street. This tour is not just about the Bloody Sunday massacre it is about when the truth was set free it allowed the people of Derry and indeed Ireland to embrace a brighter future and a bodbonew beginning. GRMA.
Gleann Doherty, Bogside History Tours.
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