The struggle for justice for the victims of Bloody Sunday continued throughout the years of conflict and beyond. An annual commemoration march was held every year from 1973, retracing the steps of the original marchers.
A new inquiry into Bloody Sunday was announced in 1998, and published its report 12 years later, on 15 June 2010, concluding that all of the dead and wounded were innocent. Although the report was greeted with soaring relief and applause, there was some dismay that all blame was ascribed to a single British officer, Derek Wilford, and a number of low-ranked soldiers. The Tribunal had followed a long tradition in averting its eyes from the possible role of the military and political elite.
The report also found that one of the Bloody Sunday victims, 17-year-old Gerald Donaghey, was ‘probably’ carrying nail bombs when he was shot, a finding that went against all the available evidence.
Nonetheless, the British admission of innocence was a golden success for the community and the families of the victims, over seemingly impossible odds. There was a sense of relief, and the lifting of a darkness over the city of Derry.
Bloody Sunday had wounded Derry deeply. We may hope that our city has now begun to bind up those wounds.