Monday, January 30, 2006
Today in History - Bloody Sunday
On the fateful day, some 10,000 people gathered in Derry to march under the banner of the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association against the policy of internment. The march had been banned. Within an hour of the march, 13 protesters were shot dead by members of the 1st Parachute regiment, the final victim died later.
The soldiers claimed they had been fired on by the IRA as they moved to make arrests but the Catholic community maintains to this day that the crowd was peaceful and that the British Army murdered unarmed civilians.
A British inquiry under Lord Widgery concluded that,"At one end of the scale, some soldiers showed a high degree of responsibility; at the other end, firing bordered on recklessness."
This view was not shared by the Derry coroner, Major Hubert O'Neill, who stated that:
"The army ran amok that day. They were shooting innocent people. These people may have been taking part in a march that was banned but that does not justify the troops coming in and firing live rounds indiscriminately. I would say without hesitation that it was sheer unadulterated murder."
The Widgery inquiry backed up the Army's account of events but it is widely regarded as a whitewash. In fact British Prime Minister John Major wrote to John Hume in 1992 stating:
"The Government made clear in 1974 that those who were killed on 'Bloody Sunday' should be regarded as innocent of any allegation that they were shot whilst handling firearms or explosives. I hope that the familes of those who died will accept that assurance."
In January 1997, English television station Channel Four carried a report on its news programme which suggested that members of the Royal Anglian Regiment had also opened fire on the protestors and could have been responsible for 3 of the 14 deaths.
A new inquiry under Lord Saville is now attempting to uncover the truth about what really happened on Bloody Sunday. At a total cost of £155m it is the biggest investigation in British legal history.
Barney McGuigan - shot dead as he attempted to help an injured man
The events of Bloody Sunday were absolutely horrific and the Irish people will never forget what happened on that day when 14 civilians were murdered at the hands of the British Army. The image to your left depicts the horror. It is the dead body of Barney McGuigan who was shot dead by British troops as he waved a white handkerchief high above his head attempting to go to the aid of a dying man.
The scumbags who perpetrated these murders never went to jail for their crimes. Indeed, shockingly, some of those involved in the murder were actually HONOURED by the British Queen.
El Blogador has written an excellent and poignant post here which touches on the human element of the tragedy.
The families of the victims deserve justice and the people of Ireland deserve answers over what occurred today in history, 30th January, 1972.
The day was significant in a political sense too as it signifies why Ireland ought to be ruled as a sovereign and united state, independent of Westminster and why British rule can never be fully trusted by either community.
It is clear that Bloody Sunday is one of the most important dates in Irish history. Take the time to pause and reflect today about what happened that day 34 years ago.
Remember the murdered. Never forget them.
© 2008 United Irelander.