Britain to compensate Bloody Sunday families

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The British government said Thursday it had offered to pay compensation to the families of the 14 fatal victims of Northern Ireland's Bloody Sunday shootings, but some relatives rejected the idea.

The Ministry of Defence said it had written to the lawyers of the families about compensation payments.

An MoD spokeswoman said: "We acknowledge the pain felt by these families for nearly 40 years, and that members of the armed forces acted wrongly.

"For that, the government is deeply sorry. We are in contact with the families' solicitors and where there is a legal liability to pay compensation we will do so."

Bloody Sunday, which took place when British soldiers opened fire on a civil rights march in Londonderry in 1972, was one of the darkest chapters in the three decades of bombings and shootings in Northern Ireland known as the Troubles.

A landmark report into the incident, which made its conclusions last year after 12 years of deliberations, ruled that the British army had fired first and without provocation.

When Prime Minister David Cameron presented the findings of the report to parliament in June last year, he apologised and said the shootings by the army were "unjustified and unjustifiable".

The family of 19-year-old William Nash, who was among the victims, said they found the idea of compensation "repulsive" and said they would not accept a payment "under any circumstances".

© 2011 AFP

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