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On January 30 1972 in Bogside, Derry, Northern Ireland during a civil rights march, the British Army shot live rounds at the unarmed men, women, and children taking part in the march. 13 men died that day, seven of whom were teenagers, another died weeks later, and his death was attributed to the wounds he received that day. Not only did the Army shoot people, they were running them over with trucks.
After the long awaited inquiry into the killings, known as the Saville Inquiry, found that all the dead men were unarmed and, importantly, that the Army top brass had lied to cover up the murder. Prime Minister David Cameron shocked everyone by yesterday apologising to the victims and the families of the dead, calling the actions of the British Army “unjustified and unjustifiable” during a 12 minute address to the House of Commons.
Following the findings talk of charges being brought against those who fired the shots and those who covered it up were filling news reports and thousands took to the streets to march the same route that the ’72 civil rights march followed, stopping at the Guildhall and the spot where the 13 people died.
The Prime Minister, who was 5 at the time of the massacre read out a vital section of the 5000 page report, quoting “None of the casualties was causing a threat of causing death or serious injury or indeed was doing anything else that could on any view justify their shooting.”
The report shows that the British Army opened fire without warning on a group of people who, if anything, had rocks for weapons. The official statement at the time was that the civil rights group had fired on the Army, and they responded by firing short bursts at the crowd. One person was killed while crawling away, and another while tending to his injured son.
Lieutenant-Colonel Derek Wilford was the Officer in charge that day, and has been singled out in the report. He is retired and living abroad somewhere. If charges are mounted, surely he will be expected to face justice, as should the men who knowingly fired on unarmed civilians.
There are suggestions that the Provisional IRA were on the scene and possibly shot their sub-machine guns, but there is no evidence to back this up. Certainly, they did nothing to warrant the killing of 14 unarmed people.
The report by Lord Saville sensationally admits that the actions of the British Army on Bloody Sunday most definitely provided the Provisional IRA with the support and numbers to carry out the violence toward the British Army in the years that followed.
The historic report was commissioned by Tony Blair as part of the Good Friday agreement, which wouldn’t have been supported by Irish Republicans without such a report looking into the violence of January 30 1972, Bloody Sunday, which resulted in the deaths of the following…
John (Jackie) Duddy (17)
Patrick Joseph Doherty (31)
Bernard McGuigan (41)
Hugh Pious Gilmour (17)
Kevin McElhinney (17)
Michael Gerald Kelly (17)
John Pius Young (17)
William Noel Nash (19)
Michael M. McDaid (20)
James Joseph Wray (22)
Gerald Donaghy (17)
Gerald (James) McKinney (34)
William Anthony McKinney (27)
John Johnston (59)