Radio Free Éireann
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John McDonagh (JM) and Sandy Boyer (SB) interview Kate Nash (KN) via telephone from Doire about how the recent Stormont Agreement, called A Fresh Start, will affect the victims and survivors of the conflict in Northern Ireland in their search for justice. (begins time stamp ~ 40:30)
SB: And we’re going to Doire – we’re talking to Kate Nash. And Kate – we talked to Kate last week, of course – and her brother William was murdered by British Paratroopers on Bloody Sunday – her father, Alexander, was severely wounded. Kate, thank you very much for being with us.
KN: You’re very welcome, Sandy. Thank you for asking me.
SB: Well Kate, as I said, last week we covered the news that someone was finally arrested for your brother’s murder and the big news this week is the British government says they’ll pay his legal bills. How does that make you feel?
KN: Oh, my! Well, I got the news actually the way I usually get my news – from a journalist – I don’t buy newspapers anymore, Sandy, they’re so depressing – the news. But he called me and he told me about it – it was late afternoon Tuesday. Just stunned – it was stunned actually. I was kind of slow to anger but I did become angry within a few minutes because what they said was that they owed a duty of care to former soldiers so we’re going to foot their legal expenses. No mention, of course, of the duty of care to their citizens. And thinking it through I did come to some conclusions then about it. For instance, the MoD is not a caring employer…
SB: …Sorry, that’s the Ministry of Defence?
KN: That’s the Ministry, sorry – that’s the Ministry of Defence, yes. They’re not a caring employer because otherwise they would not have hung these soldiers out to dry in the first place. Remember, these guys carried the entire blame for Bloody Sunday as was concluded in the Saville Inquiry. So in effect they protected the higher ranks from any sort of investigation. And we know the plan for Bloody Sunday went right to government level so if they don’t support these killers then there’s a good likelihood that if this goes – when it goes to court – I’m going to be positive – when it goes to court – they’ll sing like canaries. So the government will be taking into account the current morale, too, of the military because those soldiers might be thinking: Is this something I’m going to have to face in the future? And as for them recruiting young people for the Army I mean that would seriously damage the numbers they could depend on, you know?
SB: And Kate, this guy – and we do not even know the name of this person who was arrested.
KN: No, no – Soldier J – that’s all we know.
SB: But he was a Corporal…
KN: …a Lance Corporal – a Lance Corporal.
SB: Well, any kind of Corporal – a Corporal’s a Corporal as far as I’m concerned. But they don’t get to decide where they’re going to go. He didn’t wake up in the morning and think: Oh, I think I’ll go to Doire. They’re having a peaceful civil rights march – I think I’ll go there. Somebody decided it for him. And we actually know who that was.
KN: Yes, we know that that soldier obviously followed orders – followed orders. And well, the whole thing’s questionable – but they took the blame, they took the blame for what happened on Bloody Sunday, of course. But you see this whole thing, Sandy, this whole thing and how it’s happening actually just reaffirms to the Bloody Sunday families that this did go right to the top.
SB: There was a guy named Sir Robert Ford – they’re all ‘Sirs’ now by the way.
KN: Yes, that’s right: General Jackson, General Ford – and they’re still there; they’re still alive. ** General Jackson, for instance, I think I told you actually last week, he was called back from I believe it was Iraq – he was at the Inquiry and was called back from Iraq because of his lies. And this guy should be facing investigation, too – and he’s not.
JM: Well, they probably all should be in The Hague. Kate, John McDonagh here – I wanted to get your take on the settlement that happened up in Stormont there during the week and it seems the one big thing that they were able to solve the problem – that they would continue to get paid. I mean that was a big obstacle to them – they managed to get over that. But what do you think about Fresh Start and what has happened now with the victims of The Troubles?
KN: Well, Fresh Start – I tell you what – and I know a lot of people on the ground, ordinary people like myself, and what they think about this Fresh Start – we had the Haass talks, we had the Good Friday agreement, we had the St. Andrews thing – it goes on and on and on and has been for what? Something like seventeen years. People here are now just becoming detached from the government. I mean they don’t make – for instance, welfare reform. Sinn Féin now started a big campaign over a year ago: Say No to Welfare Reform. Stand Up to the Tories. Say No to…all of that. Yet now, when they could be doing something about it then they just hand it over to the Tories to make the decision thinking, of course, that people here are stupid enough to believe that if the Tories implement it then they’d get the blame for it.
Of course, we know better. They’re just like Pontius Pilate – they’ve washed their hands of it. But we know who does it. And we know who’s responsible for what happening here – for making the bad decisions.And when they did finally pass it over to the Tories – they’d been fighting this for how long now – this welfare reform? And they ended up making a very poor decision and cost the country more money and so welfare reform is going to be less to go around. So it’s not a good government up there and like I said people are becoming detached. And I’ve even heard Nationalist people – Nationalist people – saying that they’d rather be ruled from Britain, you know? So that’s how ridiculous a situation we live in here!
SB: Kate, they did take care of their pay cheques.
KN: Oh! Of course, yes. But that’s all they’re worried about, Sandy, that is all they’re worried about is their jobs and their money. Like I said, they can’t even make good decisions for the citizens. And like I said they parked the legacy issues – of course they had to park that because they were trying to set up a process that quite honestly was not human rights compliant. The Justice Minister had already said publicly that they wouldn’t expect more than one or two arrests. But still no decision on that because Britain, Great Britain, won’t open their files, they won’t give any evidence, they won’t let people know what they were doing here during The Troubles and we know they were here doing plenty. They were complicit in many, many more murders than they would admit to.
SB: But Kate, as you say, if your relative was killed as the result of British collusion with someone like Stakeknife, Mr. Scappaticci, you are not even going to be able to get the information on that – let alone have anybody arrested.
KN: No, no. I know that. I know that and there’s lots of victims/victims’ families out there and just to be able to – I mean I call it a burden, obviously, and I use the words duty of care towards my brother because I loved him and that’s why we continue to fight because it’s just so important for victims and victims’ families to get justice on these things. But no, Britain refuses – it’s just it’s a secret – as they keep their secret files and their secret meetings and everything’s secret and their excuse is “national security” – but national security they use to cover their criminality, their involvement in the murders, many murders, that they were complicit in in this country.
JM: Kate, this is all part of a process of just wearing people like you down and hoping for other people to die that were – back then. And even with Sinn Féin – now we’re coming up in January where you’re going to have the Bloody Sunday March in January – how is that shaping up and how is the divisiveness going to be next year? Because we’ve seen other years: That there shouldn’t be a march. You should get over it. Why do you keep dragging up the past. While on July Twelfth somebody’s banging a drum in front of your house about 1690 but let’s forget about something about thirty or forty years ago.
KN: Well I can tell you – John, I can tell you something: For starters I do not intend to move on. I live my life – and I think I live it – I try to live it normally – I’ve got a son – I’ve got grandchildren who I adore. I love my life – I go on holiday but I fight this battle, too, and I will continue to fight this battle for justice – because my brother – I love my brother. My brother deserves to have justice. We’ve never had a level playing field here. I mean that was often mentioned, for instance, at the Bloody Sunday Inquiry – often you heard that saying you know: a level playing field. We’ve never been on one. They’ve always held all the cards – all the aces. But you know what? It’s going to stop me. It won’t stop my sister. It won’t stop my family and it won’t stop a lot of other victims’ families who are looking for justice. Because it’s just something that you need to have – a human being just needs to have that – absolutely vital – vital to your well-being and to your psyche – it’s vital to have it.
SB: Now Kate, I want to come back for a minute to this soldier who’s been charged with your brother’s murder and with gravely wounding your father: Now, he’s been released without having any to put up any bail whatsoever – never had to even go to court and face a judge. And now the British government says: Well, thank you very much – we’re going to cover your legal bills. Now maybe I’m just cynical, but it makes me wonder if he’s ever going to come to trial?
KN: Well, I live in hope – a glimmer of hope. I’ll tell you what – I can tell you something: One of the survivors of Bloody Sunday – just to give you a comparison here – one of the survivors of Bloody Sunday on the nineteenth of December last year tried to take out a case against the soldier who shot him – he was trying to sue him but he needed legal aid – he’s a pensioner – it’s a state pension – very basic money coming in. And he was refused legal aid to do that. That’s what I mean when I say, Sandy, about we’re not on a level playing field. You know, this man couldn’t challenge the soldier who shot him. They wouldn’t allow it.
JM: And Kate, the cost of this is going to be enormous! I mean I don’t know if it’s just The Six Counties but every time you hear the amount of money these solicitors and barristers get – it is unbelievable!
KN: I can tell you the British government will probably, in all likelihood, they will probably go for the very best in the country they will get for these soldiers but I like to think I have a good solicitor, too, you know – I have a good legal team, so I’m quite confidant. I’m confident in their work – I wouldn’t be fully confident that the British government will allow justice to be done nor seen to be done. But we will still continue to fight.
SB: Well Kate, we want to thank you very much but unfortunately Sinn Féin doesn’t seem to be in your corner too much here.
KN: No, no they’re not. They never really have been. But we knew that. We knew that.
SB: Well, we’ve been talking to Kate Nash whose brother, William, was killed on Bloody Sunday. And Kate, thank you very much for coming on and as I said last week we want to keep in touch with you about anything that happens on this case because you’re always welcome to Radio Free Éireann.
KN: Oh! Thank you. Thank you very much, Sandy, and you’re very welcome. Thank you. (ends time stamp ~ 53:28)
** Editor’s Note: General Robert Ford died three days after this interview.