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Monday 5 June 2023 Dublin: 16°C
# 50 Years On
SDLP's Colum Eastwood calls on Parachute Regiment to apologise for Bloody Sunday
This weekend marks; the 50th anniversary of the massacre. / YouTube

SDLP LEADER COLUM Eastwood has called on the British Army’s Parachute Regiment to apologise for Bloody Sunday ahead of the 50th anniversary of the massacre this weekend. 

The Derry MP also condemned the flying of Parachute Regiment flags on the outskirts of the city in recent days, something the regiment itself criticised.

In response to a tweet from UUP leader Doug Beattie saying the flying of the flag shows a “total lack of respect and compassion” to the victims and their families, the regiment said: “100% agreed. Totally unacceptable and disrespectful behaviour.” 

“50 years ago this week the Parachute Regiment were sent to my city to murder 14 people. People who were unarmed, marching for civil rights,” Eastwood told the House of Commons today.

Last weekend Parachute Regiment flags were flown on the outskirts of Derry. The Parachute Regiment rightly condemned the flying of those flags as a grossly offensive act against the victims of Bloody Sunday.

“But yet, they have yet to apologise and condemn the actions of their soldiers on Bloody Sunday in Derry in 1972. Does the Secretary of State think they should?” 

In response, Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis said the British government “have to accept responsibility for what has happened in the past” but he did not address the question of an apology from the regiment. 

“When things are wrong we need to be clear about that, as we have been. It’s right that we have apologised for that,” Lewis said. 

I’ve added my own personal apology to the government’s for that. That is something we also need to ensure, that we are all working together to find a way forward to ensure that people are clear that violence is not an answer to anything in Northern Ireland or elsewhere.

Beginning Prime Minister’s Questions today, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson also made reference to the Bloody Sunday. 

“As my Right Honourable friend the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland remarked to the house earlier this morning. This Sunday marks a tragic day in our history. This was one of the darkest days of The Troubles. That is the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday, and I echo his call to learn from the past to reconcile and build a shared peaceful and prosperous future,” Johnson said.

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