Photograph taken on Bloody Sunday, 1972

The British government is to compensate the families of those killed when troops opened fire on the streets of Derry on Bloody Sunday.

London’s Ministry of Defence has confirmed that it is to pay compensation to the families of the 14 innocent civilians gunned down by British soldiers in January 1972.
Paratroopers killed the 14 victims when they shot into the crowd at a civil rights protest in the City.

The British Prime Minister David Cameron recently apologized to the families of those who died in the massacre and has admitted that the shootings were ‘wrong’.

Now the British Ministry of Defence has written to the legal representatives of the families and opened talks on compensation payments.

A statement from the Ministry acknowledged that members of the armed forces had ‘acted wrongly’. It added that the British Government was ‘deeply sorry’ for the actions of its troops on Bloody Sunday.

“Compensation will be paid where there is a legal liability to do so,” added the statement which comes a year after a landmark report from the enquiry headed by Lord Saville criticized the actions of the British Army on Bloody Sunday.

The Saville Inquiry ruled that the British Army fired first and without provocation and found that all 14 who died and those who were injured had been unarmed and were completely innocent.

The report from the Saville Inquiry stated that British troops had continued to shoot as the protesters fled or lay fatally wounded on the ground with one father shot as he went to tend to his injured son.

The soldiers claimed at the time that they had retaliated but this was also thrown out by the Inquiry.

“We found no instances where it appeared to us that soldiers either were or might have been justified in firing,” said Lord Saville’s report.

“Despite the contrary evidence given by soldiers, we have concluded that none of them fired in response to attacks or threatened attacks by nail or petrol bombers. No one threw or threatened to throw a nail or petrol bomb at the soldiers on Bloody Sunday.”

Confirmation from the British government that compensation is to be paid will be welcomed by the families of the victims who have campaigned for years for justice.