Republican News · Thursday 30 March 2000

[An Phoblacht]

Derry expects

The Irish News of Monday 31 January 1972 was dominated by the events in Derry of the previous day, Bloody Sunday.

``13 die in Derry's `Bloody Sunday' - Army open fire into crowd'' read the main headline.

``Impartial Inquiry demanded'' said the second main story, and it listed leading churchmen such as the then Primate of All Ireland Cardinal Conway and Bishop Farren of Derry as well as ``leading politicians, political groups and other organisations'' all calling for the United Nations or the Council of Europe to investigate the killings.

On Tuesday of this week, the Irish News front page headline, on the day after the second inquiry into the Bloody Sunday massacre began, said ``Relatives' 28-year inquiry wait over''.

It is not being cynical to state clearly that this is as far as the families of those killed and those injured have got; they have forced the British government to accede to their demands for an inquiry.

Nor is it cynical to say that over the past 28 years many of those who initially called for that impartial inquiry into the Bloody Sunday deaths left the families largely on their own to pursue the Truth and Justice they demanded.

Disappointingly, the Saville Inquiry is far from an impartial inquiry, having been set up under the auspices of the British government, yet the relatives are hopeful and it is that hope we must nurture and support.

We must also hope that Saville, unlike his predecessor Widgery, will leave no stone unturned in his endeavours to get to the heart of the Derry killings.

The array of legal figures, the input from Judges Somers and Hoyt, from New Zealand and Canada respectively, the massive trawl for evidence and witnesses and the mass of documentation indicate that if nothing else, this inquiry is going to be thorough.

But the question still remains. Will the MoD be made accountable to the inquiry and if not, will the inquiry make sure it is.

Moreover, will the meetings held involving British Army top brass, British cabinet ministers (including the then British Prime Minister Edward Heath) and Stormont politicians be opened to the inquiry?

After all, Bloody Sunday was no accident waiting to happen. It was a massacre waiting to happen and someone gave the order for it to go ahead.

Christopher Clarke, QC for the inquiry, said in his opening statement that the inquiry has searched every continent ``bar Antarctica'' in its efforts to find evidence and witnesses.

If this inquiry does not produce an outcome that is seen to be the justice demanded by the relatives of the 14 victims, then the cold air of Antarctica will nothing like the cold air nationalists will breath on the British government.

Contents Page for this Issue
Reply to: Republican News