MP Colum Eastwood to nominate 'inspirational' Bloody Sunday families for Nobel Peace Prize

MP Colum Eastwood to nominate 'inspirational' Bloody Sunday families for Nobel Peace Prize

FOYLE MP Colum Eastwood is to nominate the families of Bloody Sunday victims for the Nobel Peace Prize, calling them 'an inspiration to oppressed people everywhere'.

The SDLP leader will be in Derry today for the 51st annual Bloody Sunday commemoration.

Fourteen civilians died after being shot by members of the British Army's Parachute Regiment during a civil rights protest in the city on Sunday, January 30, 1972.

Eastwood revealed his decision to nominate the victims' families ahead of the event, saying he could think of 'nobody more deserving' for the honour.

"The Bloody Sunday families have gained respect and admiration from across the world over their 51-year battle for truth and justice," said Eastwood.

"They have faced down the might of the British establishment who tried to cover up the events of that dreadful day, blackening their loved ones' names in the process, but they never stopped fighting for what's right and remain an inspiration to oppressed people everywhere.

"Derry and the North has come a long way from the events of Bloody Sunday and with the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement approaching we should be proud of our achievements.

"However, we cannot ignore the fact that many people in this place are still struggling to get to grips with our past."

'Quiet dignity'

Eastwood added that despite the victims being exonerated, the families have continued their campaign in the face of adversity to educate others and build a better, peaceful future for all.

"Still today the Bloody Sunday families and many other victims are having to fight for justice with the British Government using every tool at their disposal to protect those who committed unspeakable crimes on our island," added Eastwood.

"Though they cleared their loved ones' names, their fight continues into a fifth decade.

"These people have been put through a horrendous ordeal, but throughout they have shown no bitterness and kept on with a quiet dignity and the assurance of one who is just in their cause.

Families of the victims and supporters hold crosses in front of a mural during last year’s Bloody Sunday commemoration on the 50th anniversary of the tragedy (Image: Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)

"No matter what has been thrown at them, they have never given up hope and have used their platform to support and educate others advocating civil rights, peace, justice and reconciliation.

"Simply put, the Bloody Sunday families embody the spirit that is needed if we are ever to come together and build a truly shared society and better future for us all in a New Ireland and I can think of nobody more deserving of being honoured for their immense contribution to life here over the past five decades plus."

The deadline for submissions of Nobel Peace Prize nominations is January 31, after which a shortlist is drawn up.

After a period of review and research, the Nobel Committee will then vote for their preferred nominee, with the recipient announced in October.

Today's Bloody Sunday march will get underway at 2.30pm, setting off from Creggan shops before making its way to Free Derry Corner.