Truth demanded on tenth anniversary of Saville Report

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One of the organisers of the original Bloody Sunday march has said the report of the Bloody Sunday Inquiry did not get to the full truth of the massacre.

Fourteen people were killed and 22 people wounded after members of the British Army’s Parachute Regiment opened fire on civil rights demonstrators on January 30 1972.

Activist Eamonn McCann, who is a People Before Profit councillor in Derry, said he believed the British ruling class were wrongly exonerated from any wrongdoing in the Bloody Sunday killings.

He was commenting on the tenth anniversary of the publication of the Saville Report. A leading human rights campaigner in 1972, Mr McCann was due to speak at the rally at the end of the anti-internment protest.

He said it took him days to read the inquiry report which exonerated the dead and wounded and placed the blame with ten “rank and file soldiers and one allegedly undisciplined officer”.

Mr McCann said some of the report’s detail was wrong.

“The top brass and the politicians were, without exception, given a clean bill of health. This wasn’t right.”

He added that the Saville findings and subsequent apology by then British Prime Minister David Cameron were what was required as “to make difficulties now was to be an enemy of reconciliation.”

Mr McCann was particularly critical of the way the Saville Inquiry treated the evidence of then Captain Michael Jackson, who was second-in-command of the Parachute battalion on Bloody Sunday and Major Ted Loden, who commanded the company which opened fire.

Jackson eventually became Britain’s top soldier as chief of the General Staff. Loden rose to become a colonel in the British army. He was murdered while visiting family members in Nigeria in 2013.

In the minutes after the shootings ended on Bloody Sunday, Jackson drew up a list of the shots fired by each soldier while Loden interviewed each soldier.

The map was subsequently used as the basis for the British government’s claim that the Parachute Regiment shot identified targets and was found to be inaccurate by Saville. However, Saville rejected claims that Jackson’s list played a part in the cover-up which became the Widgery tribunal.

Mr McCann said: “A handful of squaddies has been put in the frame for the massacre. But nobody who matters to people who matter will suffer any discomfort,” he said.

Mr McCann said the campaign for the “full truth” about Bloody Sunday would continue.

John Kelly, whose brother Michael was shot dead on Bloody Sunday, said he believes the “journey for justice” will not be complete until those responsible for the deaths are prosecuted.

Mr Kelly said the families were devastated when it was announced last year that only one paratrooper, ‘Soldier F’, would face murder charges.

“It is hard to accept that ten years later we are still seeking justice and still trying to end the journey for justice. But I’ll never give up,” Mr Kelly said.

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