Bloody Sunday: First Minister Paul Givan will not attend 50th anniversary commemoration event

First Minister Paul Givan will not take part in any events to mark the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday this weekend, the DUP has confirmed.

By Niall Deeney
Friday, 28th January 2022, 6:00 am
DUP MP Gregory Campbell speaking during a ceremony yesterday to remember two RUC officers shot dead in the days before Bloody Sunday
DUP MP Gregory Campbell speaking during a ceremony yesterday to remember two RUC officers shot dead in the days before Bloody Sunday

This comes after it was announced the President of Ireland, Michael D Higgins, the Taoiseach Micheal Martin and the former UK Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn will feature in a programme of events to mark the anniversary.

A spokesperson for the DUP said the party is not aware of “any requests” for Mr Givan to take part having been received by the Executive Office at Stormont.

The first minister’s party colleagues Gregory Campbell MP and Gary Middleton MLA did, meanwhile, take part in a wreath-laying ceremony yesterday to remember two RUC officers who were shot and killed in the days leading up to Bloody Sunday.

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The ceremony took place at 11am in the city, when the two DUP figures, along with relatives and friends of both serving and former police officers, were joined by members of the South East Fermanagh Foundation victims’ group to remember 20-year-old Constable David Montgomery and 26-year-old Sergeant Peter Gilgunn.

The forthcoming events this weekend in Londonderry will mark the deaths of 13 civil rights protestors shot dead by British soldiers on January 30 1972, in the city.

Another man shot by paratroopers on the day died four months later.

While many consider him the 14th victim of Bloody Sunday, his death was formally attributed to an inoperable brain tumour.

President Higgins will deliver a recorded message to the Bloody Sunday families on Sunday. The president’s message will be shown publicly during the commemorative event Beyond the Silence, which will take place before a limited audience in Guildhall Square. His message will be broadcast on a large screen and the occasion will be livestreamed to an online audience.

Irish Premier Mr Martin, meanwhile, will lay a wreath at 11am on Sunday at the Bloody Sunday Monument in Rossville Street.

The 2022 Bloody Sunday Memorial Lecture will be delivered at the Guildhall on Saturday by Mr Corbyn, a long-time supporter of the Bloody Sunday families.

The MP for Islington North in London will give his lecture at the same location where most of the hearings in the Bloody Sunday Inquiry took place.

The inquiry, chaired by Lord Saville, replaced the verdict of the Widgery Tribunal which had largely cleared the soldiers and British authorities of blame.

Lord Saville’s inquiry found that none of the casualties were posing a threat or doing anything that would justify their shooting.