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Local papers remember Bloody Sunday massacre 50 years on

Local newspapers have marked 50 years since a massacre that killed 14 people on their patch.

The Derry Journal and the Derry News both ran special editions marking the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday.

Thirteen people were shot dead when British soldiers opened fire on civil rights demonstrators in the city on 30 January 1972.

William McKinney, an employee of the Journal, was among those killed.

Derry J Sunday

Editor Brendan McDaid told HTFP on Friday, when the Journal’s edition was published: “The editorial team at the Derry Journal got together and wanted to create an edition reflecting back on a terrible day in our history when everything changed; an event that has shaped our city and its people over the decades.

“We wanted to do so in a poignant and fitting way and to give due recognition to the families of those killed and the wounded on Bloody Sunday, and the wider city who have supported them as they campaigned tirelessly for truth and justice.

“We have had the benefit of having access to the Derry Journal archive – Derry Journal reporters and staff were there on the march that day.

“One of those who worked at the Journal at the time, William McKinney, was among the dead. He helped set the paper in which his death was recorded.

“Others who were there saw first hand what happened in the Bogside on 30 January 1972 and had the bravery to tell it like it was, to tell the truth. It was important we honoured that too.”

Brendan went on to express his gratitude for the victims’ families “for trusting us with their stories now, as they have through the years”.

He added: “We are grateful to other people for sharing their stories and all the contributors to the special edition.

“Our small team of reporters and other staff have worked very hard over recent weeks to produce this commemorative edition. We have been humbled by, and are very grateful for, the reaction to it, locally, across Ireland and internationally.

“For the first time this commemorative edition is being shipped worldwide and details of how to order copies are on our website.”

Thirteen of those killed died on the day, while John Johnston died five months later of injuries attributed to the shooting.

John Gill, editor of the News, vowed to continue to “fight for justice” for the victims’ families after featuring the faces of the dead on the paper’s front page on Thursday.

Derry News Bloody Sunday

He said: “It may be 50 years since the British Army’s 1st Parachute Regiment murdered 14 people and injured a further 14 on a bitterly cold, dry sunny day on the streets of Derry – the pain and anger still remains.

“What took place happened in front of the world’s press – yet the British Army insisted they had been attacked by gunmen and bombers.

“The Saville Inquiry – at which hundreds of people who were there on the day [gave evidence] – rejected that claim. Yet, the families of those killed and wounded are still fighting for justice.

“Only one soldier, ‘Soldier F,’ was charged in connection with the massacre – accused of murdering two of the victims and of wounding five of the injured. Moves are in place to get those charges dropped.”

He added: “But the families are determined to get justice as one family member, who was shot dead on the day, said: ‘My children are involved, my grandchildren are involved. We cannot walk away and do nothing. We must keep going to the best of our ability.’

“That sums it up – many of those who have campaigned for justice have, sadly, passed away. That fight for justice will be carried on for generations to come.”