Irish Republican News · June 9, 2004
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
IRISH REPUBLICAN NEWS: Bloody Sunday Inquiry hears submissions
Bloody Sunday Inquiry hears submissions

Soldiers “probably” were responsible for all of the deaths on Bloody Sunday, their legal representative admitted today.

Edwin Glasgow QC also claimed that one of the wounded was hit by an IRA gunman.

The lawyer is representing almost 500 soldiers who were in Derry’s Bogside at the time British troops killed 13 civil rights demonstrators on January 30, 1972, and injured another 22. One of these later died from his injuries.

Mr Glasgow said it was accepted that the “probability is” that the soldiers of the First Battalion of the Parachute Regiment were responsible for all of the deaths and woundings, with four exceptions.

The paratroopers` barrister also said that the Inquiry`s three judges had to examine whether or not there were additional casualties on the day.

Mr Glasgow initially denied a statement by Lord Saville, heading the inquiry, that the soldiers had offered no explanation for the deaths, but later accepted the point.

Counsel to the Bloody Sunday Inquiry, Mr Christopher Clarke QC, had earlier told the inquiry’s three judges that forensic evidence used in the original Widgery inquiry to link six of the 13 unarmed civilians who were shot dead to the possession of firearms had been discredited.

Mr Arthur Harvey QC, who represents the families of 10 of the Bloody Sunday victims, said the singular fact that the forensic evidence linking six of the victims to firearms had been discredited made the present inquiry worthwhile.

“The position of the families we represent has always been based upon certainties: the certainty that those who were shot and injured were innocent of any wrongdoing; the certainty that there was no justification in any action that they were involved in for shooting them and the fact that there was never any objective justification for their being shot because of the actions at or close to them; the certainty that they were not shot by mistake, that they were shot deliberately.”

Mr Harvey said he accepted that none of those shot on Bloody Sunday had been shot by British soldiers positioned on the walls of Derry overlooking the Bogside. “That was one of the justifications that was offered by a number of politicians for granting this inquiry, but I respectfully submit that the work of this inquiry effectively establishes, as far as the families that I represent, to their satisfaction, none of their relatives were shot from the walls.”

PENULTIMATE PHASE

In the penultimate phase of the Bloody Sunday inquiry, oral submissions are being made on behalf of the various interested parties.

Earlier this week, a lawyer representing Sinn Féin’s Martin McGuinness old the Saville Inquiry that intelligence material claiming that Mr McGuinness – who has said he was second in command of the Provisional IRA in the Bogside on Bloody Sunday – fired a shot was unreliable.

Barra McGrory told the inquiry yesterday that unreliable British intelligence material about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq should serve as a lesson not to rely on their intelligence material about Bloody Sunday.

In a separate development, a barrister representing the Northern Ireland Civil Rights’ Association (NICRA) pointed out that the British army’s Fáilure to divulge its plans for an arrest operation to the Bloody Sunday march organisers contributed to the deaths on the day.

Sir Louis Blom-Cooper QC told the inquiry that communication between the march organisers and those responsible for policing it was essential in assessing risk, and the “Fáilure to communicate was primarily, if not exclusively, the fault on the part of the army”.

The inquiry adjourns later this month and resumes in October when counsel to the inquiry will give a closing statement.

The Inquiry resumes on Monday.

© 2004 Irish Republican News