Ó Caoláin commends Bloody Sunday families and urges restoration of funding for Justice for the Forgotten
Sinn Féin Dáil leader Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin has commended the families of Derry’s Bloody Sunday victims for their steadfastness and welcomed their vindication in the Saville Report.
Speaking at the Good Friday Agreement Implementation Committee, Deputy Ó Caoláin also called for funding to be restored to Justice for the Forgotten and welcomed the decision of the Committee to make a further call on the Government to restore funding.
Deputy Ó Caoláin said:
“The Saville Report is a vindication of the 14 dead and the injured of Bloody Sunday. It affirms the steadfastness of families who have campaigned for truth and justice for 38 years.
“The Dáil welcomed the statement of British Prime Minister David Cameron in response to the Saville Report. It was a significant statement, not least because he is a Tory Prime Minister. But there is also much in it about the role of the British government and the British armed forces in Ireland which we strongly contest. We have never accepted and, I believe, the majority of the Irish people have never accepted that the role of the British armed forces in the Six Counties was in David Cameron’s words, ‘upholding democracy and the rule of law’.
“We need to consider carefully what David Cameron said about the role of the British government and senior British commanders regarding Bloody Sunday. The Prime Minister claimed that those looking for a conspiracy involving senior politicians or senior members of the armed forces would not find it in the Saville Report. But David Cameron also said: ‘The Government is ultimately responsible for the conduct of the armed forces’.
“The gap in the Saville Report is its silence on the responsibility for the killings at the highest military and political level, both in terms of so-called security policy and deployment of the Paras themselves.”
On Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin’s proposal, seconded by Senator Pearse Doherty, the Committee Cathaoirleach, Deputy Noel Treacy, agreed to make representations on behalf of the Committee to the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform Dermot Ahern for the restoration of funding to Justice for the Forgotten. Deputy Ó Caoláin stated:
“The only equivalent organisation of the Bloody Sunday Justice Campaign in the 26 Counties, the only victims group in this State, is Justice for the Forgotten. Since our last Committee meeting I have received a further confirmation by letter from the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, Dermot Ahern, that Irish government funding will not be restored to Justice for the Forgotten.
“I welcome the decision of the Committee today to urge the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform to restore funding to Justice for the Forgotten. They must be allowed to continue their work of seeking justice and truth for victims of collusion.” ENDS