So Bloody Sunday needs to be placed in context, hard though it must be for those whose lives were utterly changed by it and have found it impossible to move on without first obtaining redress.
Should prosecutions be launched 30 years after the event? If viable evidence can be mustered from the millions of words of long-ago recollection, that is the logic of Blair’s mandate to Saville and the report’s conclusion. There is no immunity under Saville rules for anyone committing perjury.
But prosecution will surely only trigger tit-for-tat demands for justice against known republican killers on the grounds that – as McDonald reports – some of the Troubles dead seem to be “more equal than others”.
We will have to talk it through in the weeks and months ahead, give it a final airing. But I suspect the wise answer may be to let it go after that, once we know – at £191m let’s hope we do – what actually happened and why.
Read the whole thing.
Meanwhile, BBC NI political editor, Mark Devenport, reminds us that what Saville has to say about “what actually happened” will not be restricted to the actions of the paratroopers on that day
On Tuesday the Deputy First Minister will have to concentrate entirely on Bloody Sunday. There will be considerable interest not only in what the 5500 page report says about the activities of the Paras, and whether any soldiers might face prosecution, but also how it deals with the allegations surrounding Martin McGuinness himself.
According to the Inquiry Counsel the Tribunal will have to decide:
“a. whether there is a period of about 20 minutes for which Mr McGuinness cannot account; and, if so
b. whether this is innocently explained by Mr McGuinness’ inability, after more than 30 years, to provide a precise account of his movements; or
c. whether Mr McGuinness was in fact involved in paramilitary activity during that time.
The Tribunal will also wish to consider whether Mr McGuinness was involved in any attack on the security forces at any time during the day, other than the shooting towards the Walls at 5.30 – 6pm which he admits having ordered.”
The day after the Inquiry publishes its report Mr McGuinness is due to travel to Liverpool, where the team behind the Derry-Londonderry City of Culture bid for 2013 are due to make their final bid to the judging team. Perhaps the First Minister will go too, or perhaps that will depend on what the Saville report says.