THE LEADER of the Social Democratic and Labour Party has said that the British Army and Parachute Regiment should formally apologise for the murder of 14 unarmed civilians on Bloody Sunday.
Thirteen people were shot dead after soldiers opened fire on civil rights demonstrators in Londonderry in 1972, with one more individual dying months later due to his injuries.
Colum Eastwood raised the issue with the Secretary of State in the House of Commons at Northern Ireland Questions today.
As we approach the 50th Anniversary of Bloody Sunday, the Parachute Regiment must apologise for murdering 14 innocent people in Derry who were marching for civil rights.
Derry knows the truth of what happened. It’s time the British Army apologised to the families. pic.twitter.com/aNu9KoJZ5v
— Colum Eastwood 🇺🇦 (@columeastwood) January 26, 2022
Eastwood said the civilians "posed no threat and they were marching for civil rights".
"Last week Parachute Regiment flags were erected on the outskirts of our city in a deliberate attempt to cause hurt and pain to the families of those who were murdered," he said.
"The British Army rightly condemned the flying of those flags as a grossly offensive act against the victims of Bloody Sunday."
He said that they have yet to condemn the actions of their soldiers in Derry on Bloody Sunday, and that it is "far beyond time they acknowledge what those soldiers did, the immense pain they have caused to families and the indelible mark it has left on our city."
"Last week Parachute Regiment flags were erected on the outskirts of our city in a deliberate attempt to cause hurt and pain to the families of those who were murdered. The British Army rightly condemned the flying of those flags as a grossly offensive act against the victims of Bloody Sunday," he finished.
The flying of the flags was condemned by representatives across the political spectrum this week.
In 2010, then Prime Minister David Cameron made a public apology to the victims of Bloody Sunday following the publication of the findings of the Saville Inquiry.
In response to Eastwood's comments, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland:
"It is important that we do not repeat the mistakes of the past but remember these difficult moments in our history and come together to help build a better shared future for all of the people of Northern Ireland."
At the start of Prime Minister's Questions, Boris Johnson said he supported the secretary's remarks:
"This was one of the darkest days of the Troubles... that's the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday and I echo his [Mr Lewis] call to learn from the past, to reconcile and build a shared, peaceful and prosperous future."