Financial aid approved for Bloody Sunday 50th anniversary event supported by Derry and Strabane councilors

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Crowds gathered outside St Mary's Church, Creggan, in February 1972 for the Bloody Sunday funeral.
Crowds gathered outside St Mary’s Church, Creggan, in February 1972 for the Bloody Sunday funeral.

Overall costs for the event are estimated at around £ 150,000 with an estimated claim of £ 50,000 for Council costs.

The Bloody Sunday Trust has asked the Council for ways to support the 50th anniversary milestone in 2022.

A report, presented by the Council’s Chief Culture Officer, Aeidin McCarter to the Derry and Strabane Business and Culture Committee, noted that the main event, Beyond The Silence, will be held on Sunday, January 30, 2022. It will be a large-scale event attracting over 7,000 participants. The focus will be on the lives of the 14 civil rights protesters who were murdered that day and those who were injured, but will also include a dedication to all those killed during the conflict, in the presence of a number of dignitaries and personalities.

The event will kick off on William Street at the same time filming has started. Families will then travel to Guildhall Square along a lively route to commemorate the events of Bloody Sunday and its aftermath, part of which will remain in place for days after the event. The majority of the crowd will be gathered in Guildhall Square / Waterloo Square while waiting for the families.

Other planned events include a production at the Guildhall called “The White Handkerchief” on January 15, run by the Playhouse but supported by the Guildhall; an international conference at the Guildhall in June 2022; artist Robert Ballagh has also agreed to lend his painting of the events of Bloody Sunday to the City for free. The proposed location would be outside the main hall of the Guildhall opposite the Bloody Sunday interpretive area where it would be on display for up to six months from early January 2022. The painting would be part of the company’s own programming. Guildhall and Tower Museum regarding the anniversary.

SDLP Colr. Rory Farrell said: “The 50th anniversary of this terrible day is six months away and it is right and appropriate for the council to contribute financially to events to remember and commemorate the atrocity. 14 innocent sons from Derry were murdered by British troops while campaigning for civil rights and their families have since campaigned for justice, justice this current Conservative government intends to avoid. His proposed amnesty is an affront to the victims.

Sinn Féin Colr. Sandra Duffy called the “powerful program” impressive and said it would generate “enormous international interest”.

“It was an extremely important day in our history and it indeed shaped our future and where we are today and we absolutely should support it.”

PBP Colr. Shaun Harkin supported the recommendation saying: ‘Bloody Sunday changed the history of Derry, it changed the history of Northern Ireland, it changed Irish history, it was an international event and is now part of international history, but it is not something that is in the past because there has not yet been justice for families.

“The 50th anniversary should be properly marked in our town and people should be given the opportunity to learn more about Bloody Sunday and welcome the advice helping to facilitate that.”

DUP alderman David Ramsey said his party would not be able to support the recommendations. He added: “We need more information on how this event will be inclusive based on our history in our city, our heritage and how we move forward as a people. “

Alderman Ramsey also had a problem with Robert Ballagh’s painting in the Guildhall. “The Guildhall is a neutral space. How can we as a council ensure that we include all victims of the unrest in our city and district? “

UUP Alderman Darren Guy said he had no issues with people marking Bloody Sunday’s 50th anniversary, however, he had concerns about how much money the council would contribute. “£ 50,000 is almost 1% of our tariff budget, a budget that many members wanted to cut to zero percent, but now respond to requests like this when there are problems with staff in some departments that have already started to affect municipal services. “

Independent Colr. Raymond Barr said: “It was a massacre of innocent people which had a tremendous impact on this town and the island of Ireland and resonated around the world and has been condemned around the world and continues to be. .

“As a witness to the attack on protesters and having spoken with one of the victims shortly before her assassination, I welcome this report and wholeheartedly support this recommendation.”

Independent Colr. Gary Donnelly agreed, saying, “Bloody Sunday was the deliberate, cold-blooded murder of innocent people and this important anniversary must be marked. “

DUP Ald. Maurice Devenney said: “When I look at this amnesty I see that it protects the members of the IRA, it protects all these Republican groups and all the others that have committed atrocities across Northern Ireland and it sends a very negative message to all these innocent victims.

“Our party has said many times that bad is bad, it is never good. I’m sure family members whose loved ones were killed on Bloody Sunday would agree with my comments that everyone deserves some justice and answers about who murdered their loved ones and why they have. been murdered. It’s the innocent victim I’m thinking of.

The recommendation to approve the provisional financial commitment subject to a request to the fund for major events; the provision of in-kind advice and assistance by the various Council services to the Bloody Sunday Trust and the location of the Robert Ballagh painting in the Guildhall for a specified period were approved by 8 votes in favor and 3 against.

The decision will be submitted to the full Council for ratification at the end of the month.


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