'WE ARE DEE PLY SORRY'; the British Prime Minister Accepts Damning Findings of Saville Inquiry

Daily Mail (London), June 16, 2010 | Go to article overview

'WE ARE DEE PLY SORRY'; the British Prime Minister Accepts Damning Findings of Saville Inquiry


Byline: Niamh Lyons Political Correspondent

CHEERS greeted the British prime minister's apology for the 'unjustified and unjustifiable' events of Bloody Sunday following the publication of Lord Saville's inquiry into the killing of 14 civilians.

As relatives of the dead gathered in Derry, the Taoiseach welcomed the findings as a step in healing the 'gaping wounds' of the injustice committed that day.

In the House of Commons, David Cameron said the 5,000-page report found that British troops fired the first shots in January 1972 without issuing a warning.

'The conclusions of this report are absolutely clear,' Mr Cameron said. 'There is no doubt, there is nothing equivocal, there are no ambiguities. What happened on Bloody Sunday was both unjustified and unjustifiable. It was wrong.'

Mr Cameron told a hushed House of Commons: 'Some members of our armed forces acted wrongly. The Government is ultimately responsible for the conduct of our armed forces and for that, on behalf of the Government - and, indeed, our country - I am deeply sorry.'

The inquiry also concluded that the North's Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness was present at the time of the violence and 'probably armed with a submachine gun', but did not engage in 'any activity that provided any of the soldiers with any justification for opening fire'.

The key findings are:

The first shot in the vicinity of the march was fired by the British army.

None of the casualties shot by soldiers was armed with a firearm

There was some firing by republican paramilitaries but none of this firing provided any justification for the shooting of civilian casualties

In no case was any warning given before soldiers opened fire.

The Parachute Regiment soldiers 'reacted by losing their self-control, forgetting or ignoring their instructions and training' with 'a serious and widespread loss of fire discipline'.

Many of the soldiers 'knowingly put forward false accounts in order to seek to justify their firing'.

There is no evidence that the events of Bloody Sunday were premeditated.

The North's Director of Public Prosecutions must now decide whether anyone should be charged. Mr Cameron appeared to be opposed to prosecutions, saying that people should 'move on'.

Referring to those who lost their lives, Brian Cowen said: 'Their names are carved in stone in Derry where they fell, their memories are etched in the hearts of their loved ones and their deaths are inscribed indelibly on the pages of Irish history.

'It was an immense tragedy for those who were killed and injured, and for the people of Derry. Each of those deaths gave rise to unspeakable grief and loss and suffering.'

The Taoiseach commended Mr Cameron's good faith in publishing the report so early in his term in office. …

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