East Londonderry DUP MP Gregory Campbell has urged people to remember that as census day arrives our thoughts should also turn to the 40th anniversary of the murder of census taker Joanne Mathers.
Mr Campbell said,
Ms. Mathers was carrying out census duties near the Gobnascale area of Londonderry in April 1981. She was carrying out this task and was singled out as an innocent victim and brutally gunned down in cold blood. The Provisional IRA were responsible for the attack but no one has ever been convicted of her murder.
The added irony now is that people all across Northern Ireland are being asked to complete their census forms safely and many will be done online, 40 years ago in 1981 it was done door to door and a young innocent woman was gunned down while carrying out the task.
A close relative of Joanne's told me recently that the guilty people haven't served any of the life sentence they deserve, but the family were still serving theirs.
Like numerous other vicious killings no one has been made amenable for her murder, on a number of occasions I questioned the late Martin McGuinness about his time as the 2IC of the Provisional IRA in Londonderry regarding murders carried out by that unit during his time in charge, this included the murder of Joanne Mathers. On every single occasion I confronted him about what part he played in or what knowledge he had of any of these atrocities, his answer was always the same, he knew nothing and approved nothing. Most people could see through the brazen denials for what they were.
As we try and build a better future for all our people, we cannot and must not forget the past, lest there be those who would take refuge in trying to repeat or rewrite it."