Irish Republican News · October 17, 2003
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
IRISH REPUBLICAN NEWS: Former IRA men to counter Bloody Sunday claims
Former IRA men to counter Bloody Sunday claims

A Derry Sinn Féin councillor is expected to tell the Bloody Sunday Inquiry that he was the leader of the junior wing of the IRA in the city on the day.

Gerry O hEara joins two other former IRA men who have come forward to give evidence on the events of January 30, 1972, when fourteen civil rights demonstrators were shot dead by the British Army.

The former northern chairperson of Sinn Féin has made a statement to the Inquiry in which he says he was the leader of Na Fianna Eireann on Bloody Sunday.

He says he was given an order that there would be no action against the security forces and that order was followed.

This directly challenges a statement by a former IRA man Paddy Ward which claimed that he was the leader of the Fianna and that he distributed 16 nail bombs on Bloody Sunday with the help of Martin McGuinness.

Mr O hEara says this was untrue and that the Fianna had no access to weapons or explosives.

Another former IRA Volunteer who has made a statement is also expected to say that orders not to attack the Crown forces were followed.

In other developments, a former member the Parachute Regiment who took part in Bloody Sunday subsequently joined the UDA, the Bloody Sunday inquiry has discovered.

Soldier 203, an arms and ammunition storeman in the British Army, was recalled to the inquiry after involvement with loyalist murder gang leading up to his conviction and imprisonment in 1977 was revealed.

He said that about six months before Bloody Sunday, his father-in-law, a member of the UDA, had approached him to obtain weapons and ammunition. He said that he refused, but was aware of other soldiers who did supply arms and ammunition to loyalists. He also said that he had told his NCO about the request but that the army had taken no action whatsoever on the matter.

Under questioning, Soldier 203 described the UDA - responsible for the killings of hundreds of nationalists - as an ``anti-terrorist organisation'', and claimed that on Bloody Sunday he was neither a member of, nor sympathetic to, the UDA, despite his father-in-law's involvement. He also claimed that, during his own involvement in the mid-1970s, he did not know that that the organisation was involved in sectarian murder - even though he was a `battalion commander'.

During that period alone, the UDA killed nearly 100 people, most of them Catholic civilians.

The former soldier said that he joined the UDA simply for ``social purposes'' and for ``protection'', adding that membership allowed him to go drinking and engage in other social activities when he returned to the Six Counties after leaving the army. This assertion was challenged by Barry MacDonald, who asked ``whether he is the sort of man who really just joined the UDA because it provided perhaps a bridge club for him or some sort of knitting circle he could join or whether he was actually involved in orchestrating the killings, on a mass scale, of Catholics''.

`SHOT LIST'

The following is the so-called `shot list' written by British Army General Mike Jackson on Bloody Sunday which was subsequently used to justify the killings by falsely alleging the innocent victims were gunmen or nail-bombers.

On Wednesday, Jackson denied it was part of the British Army's cover-up of a massacre.

Following engagements took place during gun battle from approx 16.17 to 16.35 hours:

1 Nail bomber shot. Hit in thigh (back of Chamberlain St)

2 Petrol bomber shot. Apparently killed (car park)

3 Bomber (at top floor flats) shot. Apparently killed

4 Gunman with pistol behind barricade shot. Hit

5 Nail bomber (lighted fuse) (at car park) shot

6 Nail bomber at car park shot

7 Gunman with pistol fired 2 rounds at soldier armed only with baton gun at alleyway. Soldier fired one round and withdrew swiftly

8 Nail bomber (William St) shot. Hit

9 Three nail bombers (at Glenfada Park) shot. All hit

10 Gunmen, pistols, (at G Park) shot at. One hit, one unhurt

11 Sniper in toilet window. Fired upon. None hit

12 Gunman, rifle, (at 3rd floor Rossville flats) shot at. Poss hurt

13 Gunman with rifle at (ground floor R flats) shot. Hit

14 Gunman, rifle (at barricade), shot. Killed. Body recovered

15 Gunman, rifle (at barricade), shot. Killed. Body recovered

© 2003 Irish Republican News