Seanad debates

Thursday, 14 March 2019

An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business

 

10:30 am

Photo of Rose Conway WalshRose Conway Walsh (Sinn Fein)

I wish to send our thoughts and prayers to the families of those who died in the R116 Coast Guard tragedy on this day two years ago. I refer to the families of Captain Dara Fitzpatrick and Captain Mark Duffy and those of Paul Ormsby and Ciarán Smith, whose bodies are still missing. Tonight, I will join the community in Blacksod and Erris to commemorate their lives.

This morning, the eyes of the world are on Derry. On behalf of Sinn Féin, I pay tribute to the families of those who died on Bloody Sunday, whose long and painful campaign for truth and justice has led us to this day. As I speak, news is breaking that one former British soldier of the 18 suspects will be prosecuted, for one murder and four attempted murders. Our thoughts and solidarity are with the families as they digest the news coming through and the disappointment they may feel about it. Their determination and dignity through the past 47 years has been remarkable and an inspiration to many others who seek justice around the globe.

I am also mindful of the families of those killed in Ballymurphy and the other families who are still struggling for justice. Kay Duddy, the sister of Jackie Duddy, stated on RTÉ radio this morning that this is not about revenge; it is about justice.

It would be appropriate for the Tánaiste to come to the House today and for there to be an opportunity to make statements on the decision to prosecute only one former British soldier. I propose that we amend the Order of Business accordingly.

Regardless of the decision today, it is worth remembering the words of David Cameron, who stated in 2010:

the conclusions of this report are absolutely clear. There is no doubt, there is nothing equivocal, there are no ambiguities. What happened on Bloody Sunday was both unjustified and unjustifiable. It was wrong. Lord Saville concludes that the soldiers of the support company who went into the Bogside did so as a result of an order which should not have been given by their commander. ... He finds that none of the casualties shot by the soldiers of support company was armed with a firearm.

In spite of that, a para commander recently referred to Bloody Sunday as "a job well done".

However, today is about the families. Our thoughts, prayers and solidarity are with those families who have suffered so much for the past 47 years.

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