Irish Republican News · November 24, 2003
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
IRISH REPUBLICAN NEWS: TESTIMONY ENDS AT BLOODY SUNDAY INQUIRY
TESTIMONY ENDS AT BLOODY SUNDAY INQUIRY

The final witness finished his evidence today at the Bloody Sunday inquiry, which has been sitting for four years.

The Saville Inquiry is investigating the killing of 13 unarmed civil rights demonstrators by the British army in the city of Derry on January 30th, 1972. A 14th person died later.

British officials revealed that nearly 70 million pounds sterling has been paid to lawyers at the Bloody Sunday Inquiry, fuelling a new protests by unionists over the costs of the inquiry.

Lord Saville and his two fellow judges, William Hoyt and John Toohey, are expected to deliver the findings in the first half of 2005.

NO ACTION

Lord Saville said today that his Tribunal would take no action against journalists who refused to name their sources, or paramilitaries who refused to identify colleagues.

On the final day of evidence, Lord Saville said it was decided that further legal action would not produce any new information of value and would delay the completion of the Inquiry.

A number of journalists and former IRA members, including Sinn Féin's Martin McGuinness, had been warned they could face legal action if they refused to co-operate.

However one witness will be reported to the High Court for contempt for ignoring subpoenas to appear before the tribunal.

The final witness today was a former member of the mainstream Provisional IRA.

The officer commanding the Provisional IRA in Derry 32 years ago said yesterday he was ``absolutely confident'' no members disobeyed his order that no action was to be taken against British soldiers on the afternoon of the Bloody Sunday killings.

The witness also said he had appointed Sinn Féin MP Martin McGuinness as his second-in-command; and that, following his recommendation, Mr McGuinness succeeded him as OC six weeks after Bloody Sunday.

The witness said Mr McGuinness and the then quartermaster moved IRA weapons into the Bogside, the scene of the killings, the night before Bloody Sunday, but this was done because the arms dump in the Creggan had been sealed by the local OC.

The former IRA chief told the inquiry he had received intelligence reports that the paratroopers would be on duty in Derry on Bloody Sunday.

The witness said the IRA ``inner circle'' discussed the planned civil rights march days before it took place, and the consensus was that the IRA would do nothing. ``Because orders were put out on the day that there was to be no activity, I am absolutely confident that there was none,'' the witness said.

``It was absolute, and discipline was good.''

``It would have been crazy to think of taking on the army. Whereas people were angry and in shock, there was agreement to this course of action. There was to be no action taken until after the funerals. Volunteers were sent out to tell people. I was convinced that after the initial shock had subsided, no one would want any more shooting,'' he said.

FAMILIES' MARATHON OVER

There will be final submissions by the lawyers in the summer and Lord Saville is expected to publish his report next year. The Director of Public Prosecutions will then have to decide whether to bring charges.

If the DPP does not bring charges, then some of the families are likely to launch a private prosecution.

John Kelly, brother of Michael, 17, who was killed, said: ``The evidence proves our people were totally innocent that day. They were murdered and there were attempted murders of 14 others.''

A number of the relatives have been with the inquiry every day, attending hearings in Derry and in London. For almost four years, the Bloody Sunday Inquiry has been akin to a full-time job for them.

Kay Duddy's brother, Jackie, was just 17 when he was gunned down as he ran through the Rossville flats car park alongside future Bishop of Derry Dr Edward Daly.

Pictures of Dr Daly with a blood-stained handkerchief leading his body out of the Bogside have become one of the iconic images of the day.

``It has been very emotional. It has been an emotional rollercoaster listening to graphic detail, particularly in London to the soldiers - classing my brother and the others as nail bombers and gunmen,'' Ms Duddy said.

For the Derry woman, the worst moment came when she saw face-to-face the soldiers who killed her brother.

``I was numb. I did not feel hatred surprisingly enough - they looked everywhere except at us.''

She admits that the last 32 years have had a huge impact on the Duddy family, including the six years of the Inquiry.

``One of the family was taken from us, a link in the chain was broken.

``I'll never know if he would have married, if I would have had another sister-in-law or more nieces and nephews. His life was just taken away that day,'' she said.

Michael McKinney's brother, William, was a compositor with the Derry Journal newspaper. A keen photographer, he had a cine camera when he was gunned down at Glenfada Park. His death was admitted by Soldier F.

He believes the inquiry has already served a useful purpose. The truth of his brother's innocence is now clearer than ever.

While the oral evidence is now to an end, Mr McKinney believes there is still much work to be done.

But the moment Soldier F admitted killing his brother was the most dramatic of the last six years for Mr McKinney.

``When I left the chamber that day, I felt my emotions coming on.

``I found myself trying to lose myself among the crowd standing across from Central Hall (in London), trying to find a corner which I couldn't do.

``It was a very strange day for me,'' he said.

© 2003 Irish Republican News