Sunday, January 30, 2022 marked the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday. To commemorate this pivotal moment in the conflict known as the Troubles, crowds gathered at the scene of the crime. Derry became the place where the bells of St. Eugene's Cathedral rang for the dead, wreaths were laid for the victims at the Bloody Sunday memorial, and family members and their supporters retraced the steps of their fallen sons, brothers, fathers, and grandfathers. They wanted to remind the world that 50 years earlier, the British, in a highly provocative action, sent their elites soldiers—the 'paras'— to police a civil rights protest, and the results were deadly.
It should have remained peaceful. After the 15,000 strong assembly of marchers were turned away at an army barricade, they redirected to Free Derry Corner. Sure, a few stayed behind and threw rocks and bottles at those occupying the barricade, but the overwhelming majority made their way away from the skirmish. Then something happened: the British soldiers opened fire on the crowd. By the end of the encounter, 13 lay dead and over a dozen others were rushed to hospital. It was a bloodbath. Unarmed protesters killed by the bullets of the paras.
It took years for the families to persuade the British to investigate Bloody Sunday. When the British eventually agreed, they were forced to admit that the soldiers were the one's responsible for what happened that day. However, this admission didn't come until 2010. British Prime Minister David Cameron, the person responsible for delivering an apology on behalf of his nation, knew that his statement had to be sincere. Reflecting on the formal apology he delivered, Cameron said he chose his words wisely. "Unjustified and unjustifiable means, let's not go on arguing about this. What happened was wrong—full stop—end of [conversation] and let's make a proper apology," he told the BBC on the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday.
Despite the government's formal admission of wrong doing by British forces, no soldier has been held accountable for what happened on Bloody Sunday.
Bloody Sunday plays a key role in my novel My Father's Secret. For more details, check out: bloody-sunday-and-my-fathers-secret.html
Sean Patrick Dolan's Blog
Sean Patrick Dolan is the author of the thriller, My Father's Secret, inspired by the Air India Bombing.