Relatives of 'Bloody Sunday' victim reject compensation deal

The MoD said it would pay compensation to the families of the victims of Bloody Sunday where there was a legal liability
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The Independent Online

Relatives of one of those killed on Londonderry's Bloody Sunday yesterday angrily rejected the idea of accepting compensation for his death from the Ministry of Defence as "repulsive".

Kate Nash, whose teenage brother William was among those shot by paratroopers in the Bogside in 1972, was speaking after it emerged representatives of other relatives were in negotiations on compensation with MoD.

David Cameron last year said he was "deeply sorry" for the killings, which he described as both unjustified and unjustifiable. This followed publication of the Saville report, which concluded soldiers who killed 13 people and wounded almost 30 others had done so without provocation.

Coincidentally, Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness, who is a candidate for the presidency of the Irish Republic, yesterday responded to questions about his past by saying he did not kill or shoot anybody while he was an IRA member. The republican, who was present on Bloody Sunday but was not accused in the report of shooting, added: "I didn't say I never fired a gun, I was in the IRA. There were battles on the streets of Derry. I've never run away from that."

Ms Nash declared yesterday: "Not under any circumstances will I ever accept money for the loss of my brother. I find it repulsive, taking anything from the MoD."

Pressing for prosecution of paratroopers, she added that these should not be ruled out because 39 years had elapsed since Bloody Sunday. "You had Nazi war criminals that were brought to book for longer times than that," she declared.

An MoD spokesman said: "We acknowledge the pain felt by these families for nearly 40 years, and that members of the armed forces acted wrongly. For that, the Government is deeply sorry. We are in contact with the families' solicitors and where there is a legal liability to pay compensation we will do so."

The Nash family may well be in a minority in refusing compensation, with families of those killed holding a variety of opinions, as indeed do individuals who were wounded.

The amount of any compensation awards has not been made public. None of the parents of the men and youths who were killed is still alive, the last of them dying a few months ago.

Differences also exist on the controversial question of whether prosecutions should be brought against some soldiers. Those who gave evidence to the Saville tribunal had immunity from prosecution for their actions.

But some soldiers were suspected of telling lies while testifying, and this might leave them open to perjury charges. The authorities are said to be considering whether perjury charges should be brought.