The Saville Report on Bloody Sunday



It is perhaps an appropriate week for the outcome of the Saville Report to be announced.
This week in the liturgical cycle repeatedly calls on us to love our enemies.
After 38 years, costing nearly £200m and in thousands of pages, the definitive report into the circumstances that led to the deaths of 14 people, shot by members of the Parachute Regiment at a civil rights march in Derry, in 1972, has been delivered

 Report from Today's Guardian newspaper here

Prime Minister David Cameron today issued a formal, state apology for the "unjustified and unjustifiable" killing of 14 civil rights marchers by British soldiers on Bloody Sunday in Derry 38 years ago.

The prime minister said Lord Saville inquiry's long-awaited report showed soldiers lied about their involvement in the killings, and that all of those who died were innocent.
He said the inquiry was "absolutely clear" and there were "no ambiguities" about the conclusions.
Cameron told the Commons: "What happened on Bloody Sunday was both unjustified and unjustifiable. It was wrong."

Relatives cheered as they watched the statement, relayed to screens outside the Guildhall in Derry.
Bloody Sunday, as the events on 30 January 30 1972 came to be known, was one of the most controversial moments of the Troubles. Paratroopers opened fire while trying to police a banned civil rights march.
They killed 13 marchers outright, and, according to Saville, wounded another 15, one of whom subsequently died later in hospital.
The 5,000-page, 10-volume report, which took 12 years to compile at a cost of almost £191m, concludes there was no justification for shooting at any of those killed or wounded on the march.
"None of the firing by the Support Company [Paratroopers] was aimed at people posing a threat or causing death or serious injury."
The shootings "were not the result of any plan to shoot selected ringleaders," the report said.
In the Commons, the prime minister began his statement by saying he was "deeply patriotic" and did not want to believe anything bad about his country. But he said that the conclusions of the 12-year inquiry were "absolutely clear".
"The government is ultimately responsible for the conduct of the armed forces, and for that, on behalf of the government and on behalf of the country, I am deeply sorry."
The Saville inquiry found that the order sending British soldiers into the Bogside "should not have been given", said Cameron.
It concluded that none of those killed by British soldiers was armed with firearms and no warning was given by the soldiers.
Cameron said the casualties were caused by the soldiers "losing their self control".
Saville uses the word "unjustifiable" repeatedly throughout his report to describe the fatal shootings carried out by the parachute regiment – a judgment that opens up the possibility of legal action against soldiers involved in the atrocity.

Link here to statement by family member of one of the victims

Lyrics from the U2 song .................................................
And the battle's just begun There's many lost, but tell me who has won?
The trenches dug within our hearts
And mothers, children, brothers, sisters
Torn apart.

Sunday, bloody Sunday.

Sunday, bloody Sunday.
I was 17 years of age when Bloody Sunday took place and was deeply affected by theTroubles. In my early twenties I took part in the Northern Ireland Children Holidays Scheme, NICHS, every summer for four years. It was a great experience which I have never forgotten.
Read more about this great scheme here
The scheme started in 1972, the same year as Bloody Sunday happened.
This allowed Catholic and Protestant children from Northern Ireland all of whom had relatives involved in the troubles  to come  together to try and break the cycle of hatred ,prejudice, distrust and fear . It sowed the seeds of reconciliation and helped  foster mutual understanding so that they and the communities they returned to might have a better future.

I am delighted that the NICHS scheme is still running today.
Since then, there have been countless "Bloody Sundays" and not just in Northern Ireland.
Despite moves towards a political solution in Northern Ireland, communities have been left a legacy of division which can still breed sectarian hatred and creates tension for those living their lives in segregation. I am glad that the Saville Report has brought some justice...Now is the time for all of us to move forward  to build on a lasting peace for the future so that there will be no more Bloody Sundays ever again.


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1 comment:

claire said...

Thank you for reporting this, Phil. I read the news about Cameron's declaration in the NYT but was not really sure what it was about, even though Bloody Sunday I definitely have heard of.

love, claire