Bloody Sunday relative Bethany McLoughlin sings for Prince Charles in Sligo

Bethany McLoughlin was part of a choir that sang for Prince Charles in County Sligo
Image caption Bethany McLoughlin was part of a choir that sang for Prince Charles in County Sligo

The daughter of a man killed on Bloody Sunday in Londonderry has spoken of her pride after her own daughter sang for Prince Charles in County Sligo.

Bethany McLoughlin's grandfather, Gerard McKinney, was one of 13 people killed when paratroopers fired on civil rights marchers on 30 January 1972.

Bethany joined a multi-school choir at a service of peace and reconciliation at St Columba's Church in Drumcliffe.

Bethany was introduced to Prince Charles and shook his hand.

Her mother, Mairead McKinney, said that her own mother had given her blessing for any handshake between Bethany and the prince, who is colonel-in-chief of the Parachute Regiment.

"The service brought tears to my eyes," she said. "It was a lovely service about peace and reconciliation.

"It was very emotional watching Bethany sing. I was so proud of her."

She said the prince "spoke beautifully" earlier when he talked about the murder of his great-uncle Lord Mountbatten.

"He said he was like the grandfather he never had. That was very touching because Bethany never got to know her grandfather. It was very poignant indeed."

The prince and the Duchess of Cornwall are on the second day of their four-day visit to Ireland, north and south.

'Time to forgive'

Bethany has been a singer in the school choir since she was 12 and has competed in Wales, Belfast and Dublin. When her school was approached and asked to provide three singers for a choir to attend the royal visit, she was one of three picked.

Image copyright Bethany McLoughlin
Image caption Bethany with a photograph of her grandfather

Earlier, Mairead told BBC Radio Foyle that her daughter's 'moment' in front of the prince was both a coincidence and a blessing.

"It was a great honour for her but she knew that to sing for the prince wasn't just singing for any prince, it meant a bit more than that for us," she said.

"It is poignant and it is hard, but at the same time we've always said that justice was served when my father was declared innocent on Bloody Sunday, that he wasn't a terrorist.

"It has the blessing of all of my family at home, mammy has given her blessing to it. I was only 18 months old when I lost daddy. We haven't been brought up living in the shadow of Bloody Sunday. I dealt with it long and hard, I struggled but I made the decision to forgive."

'God's hand'

Gerard McKinney was shot in Glenfada Park as he tried to make his way to safety.

The 35-year-old was one of a number of people who was described as having made a run for cover.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Gerard McKinney was shot once in the chest

Witnesses told the Widgery Inquiry that Gerard McKinney had raised his arms and shouted, "Don't shoot, don't shoot".

Mairead said she would not be surprised if Prince Charles made a point of speaking to Bethany about her grandfather.

"I asked my mammy last night, if the prince attempts to acknowledge her or shake her hand what should she do? She said tell her to go ahead. When I asked her would she shake his hand, she said yes.

"Bethany will offer her hand as a family to show forgiveness as a family for what happened to Gerard.

"My mum has eight children and she taught each and every single one of us to love and forgive.

"I know my father is in heaven, he's looking down on me and I know today that God is in all of it and that he has had a hand in it from the very beginning."

Image caption Prime Minister David Cameron said that none of the casualties of Bloody Sunday were posing a threat or doing anything that would justify their shooting

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