17 June 2005

Daily Ireland

Honour hero of Bloody Sunday

by Eamonn Houston
e.houston@dailyireland.com

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Calls were made last night for the Irish government to issue a posthumous bravery award to a man regarded as a hero of Bloody Sunday.

Patrick Walsh, who died yesterday aged 71, braved gunfire in Derry on January 30, 1972, to crawl into open ground and help the dying Patrick Doherty.
The image of Mr Walsh crawling out to Mr Doherty is one of the iconic images of Bloody Sunday.
Mr Doherty’s son Tony, yesterday led calls for official recognition of Mr Walsh’s bravery.
During the Saville Inquiry into the events of Bloody Sunday, a number of British soldiers present during the massacre instructed their legal counsel to “salute” the courage of the Creggan man.
Tony Doherty said last night: “Paddy Walsh’s bravery in trying to help my father should have been recognised a long time ago by the Irish Government on behalf of the Irish people. I think that the Irish government should consider a posthumous award to recognise this act of bravery on the part of one of its citizens.”
Former SDLP leader, John Hume, extended his condolences to the Walsh family and also called for official regcognition of Mr Walsh’s courage.
“In any other country in Europe, or indeed the world, Paddy Walsh would have been recognised nationally. His was a total act of bravery,” said Mr Hume.
The Irish government currently has no mechanism to honour civilians who have made major contributions to society or who have demonstrated exceptional acts of bravery.
Fine Gael’s Michael Finucane has raised the matter in the Dail and the Irish Seanad.
Speaking to Daily Ireland, he urged the government to look at the French model of honouring its citizens.
“We should be looking at something like the French Legion of Honour. There is nothing at present to honour anyone living or dead.
“As a nation we always speak well of the dead, but it is a pity that they were never recognised when they were living.”
SDLP Assembly member for Foyle, Pat Ramsey, voiced his disappointment that there is nothing within the nationalist community to acknowledge achievements or acts of bravery.
“It may be time for the Irish government to consider some form of recognition for people with particular achievements.
“Speaking in the local council chamber this week on a proposal to erect bronze plaques at the homes of famous Derry people, I expressed my concern that achievements are usually acknowledged when the person has passed away. I believe that there should be a way of rewarding people while they are alive.”






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