Tom Elliott on Bloody Sunday, Saville and Martin McGuinness

Maybe I am biased living in Fermanagh but I have always regarded Fermanagh’s two unionist MLA (no disrespect to Maurice Morrow, he is more South Tyrone based) as amongst their respective parties’ serious talents. Tom Elliott has a piece in the News Letter on the Saville Enquiry and Bloody Sunday which is very interesting:

The publication of Saville will bring us back to a dark year in our history. The bloodiest year of the Troubles was 1972, when 497 people
lost their lives.

The Saville report will consider one event in that year – Bloody Sunday.

It is important that we recognise the pain and grief of those who lost loved ones on that day.

It is also important to remember that the events of January 30, 1972 did not take place in a vacuum. On the January 27 1972, two young
RUC officers – one a Roman Catholic, the other a Protestant – were murdered by the IRA in Londonderry.

Their families grieved no less than those who lost their lives on Bloody Sunday.

Elliott accepts the need for the security forces to be accountable:

Those of us who served in the security forces are prepared to recognise that during three decades of terrorism – as now – that it is right that we are accountable for our actions and answerable to the rule of law.

But, that is but a part of a wider story. Our society owes a debt of gratitude to the men and women who served in the Army, the UDR and the RUC.

He also rounds on Martin McGuinness’s role both during 1972 and the enquiry:

One of the defining moments of the Saville Inquiry was the now deputy First Minister’s refusal to answer questions put to him regarding his
actions on that day.

This sums up Saville.

While the inquiry examined – in minute detail – the actions of the security forces, the actions of the deputy first minister go without scrutiny. By his own admission, Martin McGuinness was the IRA “adjutant” in Londonderry on January 30, 1972.

What, then, does he know of the murders of Constables Gilgunn and Montgomery on January 27, 1972?

This author has not written a biography and will not be writing one.