Friday, 11 December 2015

Bloody Sunday and James McClean

The WBA player James McClean would appear to be the target of an orchestrated campaign by as yet unidentified individuals and organisations for his refusal to wear a Poppy because coming from Derry he would see it as disrespectful to the 14 civil rights demonstrators who were murdered on Bloody Sunday by the British Army's Parachute Regiment.

The 14 people and the situations in which they died on 30 January 1972 were as follows:

John (Jackie) Duddy (17). Shot in the chest in the car park of Rossville flats. Four witnesses stated Duddy was unarmed and running away from the paratroopers when he was killed. Uncle of Irish boxer John Duddy.

Patrick Joseph Doherty (31). Shot from behind while attempting to crawl to safety in the forecourt of Rossville flats.

Bernard McGuigan (41). Shot in the back of the head when he went to help Patrick Doherty. He had been waving a white handkerchief.

Hugh Pious Gilmour (17). Shot through his right elbow, the bullet then entering his chest as he ran from the paratroopers on Rossville Street.

Kevin McElhinney (17). Shot from behind while attempting to crawl to safety at the front entrance of the Rossville Flats.

Michael Gerald Kelly (17). Shot in the stomach while standing near the rubble barricade in front of Rossville Flats.

John Pius Young (17). Shot in the head while standing at the rubble barricade.

William Noel Nash (19). Shot in the chest near the barricade. Witnesses stated Nash was unarmed and going to the aid of another when killed.

Michael M McDaid (20). Shot in the face at the barricade as he was walking away from the paratroopers.

James Joseph Wray (22). Wounded then shot again at close range while lying on the ground.

Gerald Donaghy (17). Shot in stomach while trying to run to safety between Glenfada Park and Abbey Park.

Gerald (James) McKinney (34). Shot in the chest just after Gerald Donaghy.

William Anthony McKinney (27). Shot from behind as he attempted to aid Gerald McKinney (no relation).

John Johnston (59). Shot in the leg and left shoulder on William Street 15 minutes before the rest of the shooting started. Johnston was not on the march. He died four-and-a-half months later. His death has been attributed to the injuries he received on the day.


Following the shootings the British Army initially sought to claim the IRA were responsible but when that case became untenable it was changed to suggest "those who were shot and injured fully merited what occurred as they were directly or indirectly involved in acts of terror against members of the Parachute regiment."

It took decades of campaigning by families and friends of those killed and injured to confirm that they were innocent of any wrongdoing, there was no justification for shooting them and they were shot deliberately, probably under the direction of the British Government.  

British Government admits responsibility and apologises. 

In 1998 the Bloody Sunday Inquiry was established to provide a definitive version of events in 1972. When the results were published in a 5,000 page report on 15 June 2010, Prime Minister David Cameron told Parliament that the paratroopers had fired without warning the first shot and had fired on unarmed citizens fleeing the scene.

Cameron told MPs: "The conclusions of this report are absolutely clear. There is no doubt, there is nothing equivocal, there are no ambiguities. What happened on Bloody Sunday was both unjustified and unjustifiable. It was wrong....on behalf of the Government - and indeed our country - I am deeply sorry." 

Bloody Sunday led to a long war 

The inquiry itself did not look at the impact of Bloody Sunday but ultimately it meant that it radicalised a generation of nationalists in Ireland and ensured the conflict that followed was long and bloody in which thousands of people were killed by a combination of republicans, loyalists and the British armed forces. 

James McLean 

So, aside from the fact that it is not compulsory to wear a Poppy then why are some football fans at matches involving WBA being encouraged to abuse and hurl anti-Irish and anti-Catholic abuse at James McClean? At the game in October between WBA and Sunderland, McClean was roundly abused by the majority of away fans with neither the police or stewards intervening even when they were themselves abused when they prevented some fans getting on the pitch to possibly attack the WBA player.

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