The Bloody Sunday Essay

1708 words - 7 pages

The Bloody Sunday

On 30th January 1972, 13 Catholics were killed when soldiers of a
British paratroop regiment opened fire during a civil rights march in
Londonderry. The day became known as Bloody Sunday. Its impact led to
a resurgence of violent opposition to the British presence in Northern
Ireland. Although the details of what took place that day remain
controversial, many of the basic facts are not disputed, 14 people had
been killed etc.

The demonstration was held in protest at the policy of internment
without trial. It was organised by the Northern Ireland Civil Rights
Association. About 10,000 people gathered in the Creggan Estate
planning to walk to Guildhall Square in the centre of the city, where
a rally would be held. The march itself was illegal because the
Stormont Parliament had banned all such protests.

There have been two investigations into what actually happened. The
first in 1972 by Lord Widgery and one taking place at this moment by
Lord Saville. The inquiry by Lord Widgery reported that the
paratroopers’ firing had "bordered on the reckless". It also concluded
the soldiers had been fired upon first and some of the victims had
handled weapons.

Both sides used his report to support their views. Widgery, at that
moment in time, according to Lord Saville didn’t have sufficient
evidence to point the finger of blame clearly to one side. The
evidence which was extracted could’ve have been contaminated from
‘foreign’ substances. For example, gun powder was found on the
victim’s hands, this could have been from genuinely handling gun
powder. Or on the other hand when the bodies were loaded into the
trucks, the gas emissions from the truck itself could have contained
substances used to make gun powder. Another key factor was that Lord
Widgery had been told to sufficiently hurry the inquiry so that that
the matter would be “buried as quickly as possible”. Rushing of the
report meant compromising proper justice.

Source A was newspaper report. The newspaper in question was The Daily
Mail. It quotes Gerald Howarth and an unnamed paratrooper who
apparently witnessed what had happened that day. Howarth, an MP for
the constituency of Aldershot. The Tory MP talks about the enquiry, “I
had little faith in the inquiry before, and I have none now”, he
suggests that there may be overwhelming evidence but to get a fair and
justified enquiry there has to be a full and thorough report rather
than a partial and premature account. He also goes on to describe the
inquiry as “an absolute disaster”, if he was to have a differing
opinion then that could have meant losing his seat in the Aldershot
constituency, therefore the only logical side to favour.

The ex-paratrooper who is not named talks about his perspective of
what had happened on 30th January 1972. The soldier...

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