Britain apologises for RAF recruitment in Derry

Thursday 02 January 2014 22.08
The RAF recruitment advertisement was placed close to the scene of the Bloody Sunday massacre
The RAF recruitment advertisement was placed close to the scene of the Bloody Sunday massacre

The British Ministry of Defence has apologised "for any offence" after a Royal Air Force recruitment billboard was placed close to the scene of the Bloody Sunday massacre.

The RAF is recruiting for reservists across the region and has re-established a base at Aldergrove in Co Antrim.

It said the advertisement was aiming at offering job opportunities to the widest possible number of people.

The poster was placed in the Brandywell area of Derry, near where British army soldiers shot dead 13 innocent civil rights protesters in January 1972.

It was taken down this afternoon, believed to be by local people.

Kate Nash, the sister of one of the dead men, said: "I was incensed, we are anti-war and to have that looking at us outside our door was very hurtful."

Her brother William Nash was 19 when the paratroopers opened fire in the Bogside area of the city early in the conflict.

The Saville Inquiry into the events of Bloody Sunday opened in 1998 and took 12 years to complete.

It found that those killed were innocent and British Prime Minister David Cameron said the deaths were unjustified and unjustifiable.

Kate Nash claimed the RAF's action was seen as provocative by some.

"There is an uneasy peace in Northern Ireland and I think that is just provocation for people," she said.

"It is offensive because it is recruiting for Britain, which was responsible for a lot of innocent deaths in the area that I lived in; it is offensive to have it up on the edge of this area."

In response to the backlash against the advert a statement from the British Ministry of Defence said: "The MoD apologises for any offence that may have been caused as a result of the placement of this advert, this was certainly not our intention.

"The MoD is an equal opportunity employer irrespective of cultural, ethnic or religious background and as such endeavours to inform the widest possible number of people of the careers open to prospective candidates.