Magazine article Canadian Dimension

'Bloody Sunday' Inquiry Hears of Ministry of Defense Brutality

Magazine article Canadian Dimension

'Bloody Sunday' Inquiry Hears of Ministry of Defense Brutality

Article excerpt

The Bloody Sunday Inquiry has begun to take statements from eyewitnesses involved in the events in Derry on January 30, 1972. On that day, British army paratroopers fired upon a peaceful civil rights demonstration in the Bogside area of the city, killing 13 people.'

What became known as the "Bloody Sunday" massacre was part of an escalation of Britain's military occupation of Northern Ireland at a time of mounting social tension. An estimated 50,000 people attended the Derry march, as many Catholic workers and young people, increasingly alienated from official politics, began demanding an end to anti-Catholic discrimination in the North. Most worrying for the authorities, the demand for civil rights was accompanied by calls for greater social and political equality in all areas.

The massacre at Derry was a turning point in the development of the so-called "Troubles." It led to the imposition of direct rule from London, and crucially helped drive significant sections of the Catholic working-class enclaves in Derry and Belfast behind the previously small IRA.

The Bloody Sunday Inquiry, which officially opened on Monday March 27, 2000, is headed by Lord Saville and his co-judges, John Toohey and William Hoyt. Since the Inquiry was announced in January 1998, Saville and Toohey have amassed at least 60,000 pages of written submissions regarding the events. They have also interviewed nearly 1,500 civilians, soldiers, police officers, journalists and government officials. Other evidence submitted includes detailed maps of the area and photographic evidence.

Over the past months, the Inquiry has also heard a number of important accounts from eyewitnesses to the events. Damien Donaghy -- 15 years old at the time and the first victim of the Bloody Sunday shootings to give evidence -- stated that he was unarmed when the British Army opened fire on him, wounding him in the leg. …

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