Senior Unionist Speaks on Saville.

Below I have posted the statement from the Conservative & Unionist Leader David Cameron, and having read it in full and not jut the soundbites I find it something most Unionist could probably agree with once things have calmed down.

However it also hilights that underlying issue of Republican violence remains unresolved,  and therefore makes empathy with the Bloody Sunday victims difficult for most unionists, direct parallels don’t have to be drawn but some process of establishing the truth and remorse mut be shown,  possibly a similar statement from the Deputy First Minister could start that process.

“Today, my Rt Hon Friend, the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland is publishing the report of the Saville Inquiry…the Tribunal set up by the previous Government to investigate the tragic events of 30th January 1972 – a day more commonly known as “Bloody Sunday”.  We have acted in good faith by publishing the Tribunal’s findings as quickly as possible after the General Election.

Mr Speaker, I am deeply patriotic,

I never want to believe anything bad about our country.

I never want to call into question the behaviour of our soldiers and our Army who I believe to be the finest in the world.

And I have seen for myself the very difficult and dangerous circumstances in which we ask our soldiers to serve.

But the conclusions of this report are absolutely clear.

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.

Lord Saville concludes that the soldiers of Support Company who went into the Bogside “did so as a result of an order…which should have not been given” by their Commander…

…on balance the first shot in the vicinity of the march was fired by the British Army…

…that “none of the casualties shot by soldiers of Support Company was armed with a firearm”…

…that “there was some firing by republican paramilitaries…but….none of this firing provided any justification for the shooting of civilian casualties”…

…and that “in no case was any warning given before soldiers opened fire”.

He also finds that Support Company “reacted by losing their self-control…forgetting or ignoring their instructions and training” with “a serious and widespread loss of fire discipline”.

He finds that “despite the contrary evidence given by the soldiers…none of them fired in response to attacks or threatened attacks by nail or petrol bombers”…

…and that many of the soldiers “knowingly put forward false accounts in order to seek to justify their firing”.

What’s more – Lord Saville says that some of those killed or injured were clearly fleeing or going to the assistance of others who were dying.

The Report refers to one person who was shot while “crawling…away from the soldiers”…

…another was shot, in all probability, “when he was lying mortally wounded on the ground”…

…and a father was “hit and injured by Army gunfire after he had gone to…tend his son”.

For those looking for statements of innocence, Saville says:

“The immediate responsibility for the deaths and injuries on Bloody Sunday lies with those members of Support Company whose unjustifiable firing was the cause of the those deaths and injuries”…

…and – crucially – that “none of the casualties was posing a threat of causing death or serious injury, or indeed was doing anything else that could on any view justify their shooting”.

For those people who were looking for the Report to use terms like murder and unlawful killing, I remind the House that these judgements are not matters for a Tribunal – or for us as politicians – to determine.

Mr Speaker, these are shocking conclusions to read and shocking words to have to say.

But Mr Speaker, you do not defend the British Army by defending the indefensible.

We do not honour all those who have served with distinction in keeping the peace and upholding the rule of law in Northern Ireland by hiding from the truth.

So there is no point in trying to soften or equivocate what is in this Report.

It is clear from the Tribunal’s authoritative conclusions that the events of Bloody Sunday were in no way justified.

I know some people wonder whether nearly forty years on from an event, a Prime Minister needs to issue an apology.

For someone of my generation, this is a period we feel we have learned about rather than lived through.

But what happened should never, ever have happened.

The families of those who died should not have had to live with the pain and hurt of that day – and a lifetime of loss.

Some members of our Armed Forces acted wrongly.

The Government is ultimately responsible for the conduct of the Armed Forces.

And for that, on behalf of the Government – and indeed our country – I am deeply sorry.

Mr. Speaker, just as this Report is clear that the actions of that day were unjustifiable…

…so too is it clear in some of its other findings.

Those looking for premeditation, those looking for a plan, those looking for a conspiracy involving senior politicians or senior members of the Armed Forces – they will not find it in this Report.

Indeed, Lord Saville finds no evidence that the events of Bloody Sunday were premeditated…

…he concludes that the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland Governments, and the Army, neither tolerated nor encouraged “the use of unjustified lethal force”.

He makes no suggestion of a Government cover-up.

And Lord Saville credits the UK Government with working towards a peaceful political settlement in Northern Ireland.

Mr Speaker, the Report also specifically deals with the actions of key individuals in the army, in politics and beyond…

…including Major General Ford, Brigadier MacLellan and Lieutenant Colonel Wilford.

In each case, the Tribunal’s findings are clear.

It also does the same for Martin McGuinness.

It specifically finds he was present and probably armed with a “sub-machine gun” but concludes “we are sure that he did not engage in any activity that provided any of the soldiers with any justification for opening fire”.

Mr. Speaker, while in no way justifying the events of January 30th 1972, we should acknowledge the background to the events of Bloody Sunday.

Since 1969 the security situation in Northern Ireland had been declining significantly.

Three days before ‘Bloody Sunday’, two RUC officers – one a Catholic – were shot by the IRA in Londonderry, the first police officers killed in the city during the Troubles.

A third of the city of Derry had become a no-go area for the RUC and the Army.

And in the end 1972 was to prove Northern Ireland’s bloodiest year by far with nearly 500 people killed.

And let us also remember, Bloody Sunday is not the defining story of the service the British Army gave in Northern Ireland from 1969-2007.

This was known as Operation Banner, the longest, continuous operation in British military history, spanning thirty-eight years and in which over 250,000 people served.

Our Armed Forces displayed enormous courage and professionalism in upholding democracy and the rule of law in Northern Ireland.

Acting in support of the police, they played a major part in setting the conditions that have made peaceful politics possible…

…and over 1,000 members of the security forces lost their lives to that cause.

Without their work the peace process would not have happened.

Of course some mistakes were undoubtedly made.

But lessons were also learned.

Once again, I put on record the immense debt of gratitude we all owe those who served in Northern Ireland.

Mr. Speaker, may I also thank the Tribunal for its work – and all those who displayed great courage in giving evidence.

I would also like to acknowledge the grief of the families of those killed.

They have pursued their long campaign over thirty-eight years with great patience.

Nothing can bring back those that were killed but I hope, as one relative has put it, the truth coming out can set people free.

John Major said he was open to a new inquiry.

Tony Blair then set it up.

This was accepted by the then Leader of the Opposition.

Of course, none of us anticipated that the Saville Inquiry would last 12 years or cost £200 million.

Our views on that are well documented.

It is right to pursue the truth with vigour and thoroughness…

…but let me reassure the House that there will be no more open-ended and costly inquiries into the past.

But today is not about the controversies surrounding the process.

It’s about the substance, about what this report tells us.

Everyone should have the chance to examine the complete findings – and that’s why the report is being published in full.

Running to more than 5000 pages, it’s being published in 10 volumes.

Naturally, it will take all of us some time to digest the report’s full findings and understand all the implications.

The House will have the opportunity for a full day’s debate this autumn – and in the meantime I have asked my Rt Hon Friends the Secretaries of State for Northern Ireland and Defence to report back to me on all the issues that arise from it.

Mr Speaker, this report and the Inquiry itself demonstrate how a State should hold itself to account…

…and how we are determined at all times – no matter how difficult – to judge ourselves against the highest standards.

Openness and frankness about the past – however painful – do not make us weaker, they make us stronger.

That’s one of the things that differentiates us from terrorists.

We should never forget that over 3,500 people – people from every community – lost their lives in Northern Ireland, the overwhelming majority killed by terrorists.

There were many terrible atrocities.

Politically-motivated violence was never justified, whichever side it came from.

And it can never be justified by those criminal gangs that today want to drag Northern Ireland back to its bitter and bloody past.

No Government I lead will ever put those who fight to defend democracy on an equal footing with those who continue to seek to destroy it.

But neither will we hide from the truth that confronts us today.

In the words of Lord Saville –

“What happened on Bloody Sunday strengthened the Provisional IRA, increased nationalist resentment and hostility towards the Army and exacerbated the violent conflict of the years that followed. Bloody Sunday was a tragedy for the bereaved and the wounded, and a catastrophe for the people of Northern Ireland.”

These are words we can not and must not ignore.

But what I hope this Report can also do is to mark the moment when we come together, in this House and in the communities we represent.

Come together to acknowledge our shared history, even where it divides us.

And come together to close this painful chapter on Northern Ireland’s troubled past.

That is not to say that we must ever forget or dismiss that past.

But we must also move on.

Northern Ireland has been transformed over the past twenty years…

…and all of us in Westminster and Stormont must continue that work of change, coming together with all the people of Northern Ireland to build a stable, peaceful, prosperous and shared future.

It is with that determination that I commend this statement to the House.

  • Rory Carr

    The Good Friday Agreement was the resolution, Drumlin’s Rock. The Saville Inquiry was a working out of one part of that agreement. Hillsborough was another. Now let us continue in that spirit.

  • midulsterunionist

    Cameron didn’t speak for me.. or from what I can see the majority of unionists

  • Neil

    some process of establishing the truth and remorse mut be shown

    Truth fair enough, and I agree that it’s a nettle that must be grasped. Time for the discussion about the mother of all enquiries now? How do you reckon the British would respond to that idea post 191m on Saville? If it were the final enquiry and somehow kept on the cheapy cheap, it would be worth looking at. Certainly preferable to enquiry after enquiry on individual events.

  • Drumlins Rock

    which bits of the statement do you not agree with MUU?

  • joe mack

    saville was a shame, it ended up where it wanted to. It totally disregarded the soldiers testimony.

    Even Martin Mcguinness doesnt believe saville so why should anyone else.

  • Drumlins Rock

    Probably it should be something that should be sorted out by the NI parties and participants, maybe we should lock all the oldtime politicians in a room untill they agree this one too, and let the next generation get on with the running the country.

  • midulsterunionist

    I don’t agree with it because it ignored the soldiers and ignored th eocntext of the situation…. it was a set up… it had only one objective and that was to blame the army which it subsequently did, it was a replublican whitewash! look at what unionists are saying on facebook, look at the unionist politicians, look at the daily mail, look at the feeling on the ground level and tell me the unionist people believe in saville…

  • slug

    He did speak for me and I am a unionist.

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    MUU none of Saville’s findings should be a surprise to anyone. By refusing to accept those findings, you are not helping the Unionist cause in any way.

    The BA got it very badly wrong that day. There are no excuses. And I say that as a Unionist.

    Acceptance of Saville needs to be made by the broad Unionist community and the spotlight needs to be turned on republican atrocities. By continuing to protest at a verdict which will not be changed, you merely appear intransigent.

    Accept Saville and move on.

  • dmcoop

    And me.

  • smcgiff

    ‘look at the feeling on the ground level and tell me the unionist people believe in saville’

    Disappointed, but not hugely surprised.

  • S.Wiss

    Here’s the thing; as an independent observer. State forces, went against orders and shot dead innocent civilians. The Army sought to cover this up and did so through the channel of an official enquiry. The event and the cover up exacerbated the conflict and probably contributed to it lasting much longer than it otherwise would have.

    IRA and loyalist violence: IRA violence occured within the context of there being state forces, who could and did, pursue the culprits. (In the case of shoot to kill; operating outside the law). Those IRA men that were found guilt of crimes were sent to prison. Those that were not caught; were not. (as is the case anywhere else).

    Loyalist killings happened often in conjunction with and at the behest of previously mentioned state forces. Accordingly, many of the culprits were not properly apprehended under the rule of law. Some token loyalists were, like their republican counterparts, sent to prison.
    The truth about shoot to kill and loyalist collusion has never been told.

    What is the issue that Unionists actually have. Are they saying that the forces of law and order turned a blind eye to Republican killings? Are they saying that the forces of law and order were incompetent. Are they saying that the Diplock courts were impotent. One imagines that every death of an innocent person during the troubles was properly investigated, bar those cases that involved high profile state agents.

    Do unionist also want shoot to kill cases and collusion cases to be reopened. Do they want amnesties granted under the GFA to be revoked? Do they know something that the rest of us do not.

    One thinks that they should be carefull for what they wish.

  • Kathy C

    posted by Kathy C

    Joe mack makes a very valid point and one I discussed over at the other thread about Saville. Sinn fein and mcguinness can’t have it both ways….either the findings in the saville report are believable….ie that the british soldiers were not threatned and they did not need to shoot and kill innoncent protestors who were not carrying weapons….or the findings are not believable the soldiers are innoncent victims of terrorist of course, the commission and report states that mcguiness was carrying a weapon and thus he is not an innocent victime like those who were killed.

    Interesting that the unionist are not stating the famous comments made by margaret thatcher….a crime is a crime is a crime. Last I heard…it is/was a crime for the military soldiers to shoot unarmed innocent protestors….

    the queen is rather silent on this…so is charles and the boys….medals were given the soldiers who killed unarmed innocent protestors of Derry….what about the medals????

  • joe mack

    ‘look at the feeling on the ground level and tell me the unionist people believe in saville’……….

    martin mcguinness deonst even belive it

    and remember those who were shot were not all innocent

    Gerald donaghy was anail bomber who got what he deserved

  • joe mack

    Accordingly, many of the culprits were not properly apprehended under the rule of law. ……………….

    exept for the facts of course, more loyalists were improsiioned that republicans

    but dont let that get in the way of a good collusion story

  • midulsterunionist

    “By continuing to protest at a verdict which will not be changed, you merely appear intransigent”

    Did republicans look intransigent when they didnt accept the widgery report for the past 30 odd years? or is only when unionists don’t accept their version of events than intransigence is cited, i accept some of those killed on the day were non combatants but to say that none were armed is a lie just as the “they were innocent” routine is also lies and to say by taking part in a illegal parade they weren’t out to provoke a response is nonsense and what about mcGuiness’s machine gun? what about the soldiers stories which were all cast to the side and derided as lies for no reason? Why create a hierarchy of victims in such a way as this?

    The report is a sop to republicans plain and simple… by backing up the old “it was all the brits fault we joined the ra and murdered and bombed” isn’t helping unionism either, true there must be acceptance of wrongdoing on both sides but I am yet to read of the IRA apologising for the murder of soldiers and RUC officers who did nothing but try and bing order to our streets,

    the paras were under immense stress and should be praised for only slippling up once… in 30 years

  • joeCanuck

    When did you carry out your inquiry? How much did it cost?

  • Deaglan

    “who got what he served”

    127.25 We have borne these matters in mind, but they fail to persuade us that these individuals, including Gerald Donaghey, were engaged in any form of offensive paramilitary activity during the day, let alone provide us with any indication that Gerald Donaghey was in possession of nail bombs when he was shot.

    Joe, you’re a disgrace.

  • EyeontheNorth

    The fact that 14 innocent people died as the result of a Civil Rights March is evidence that the army were at fault and to blame. Saville was about finding out EXACTLY how much at fault the army was.
    If you had a loved one killed on that day, wouldn’t you want their name to be cleared. The people like you who don’t ‘believe’ in Saville (very un-British of you after yesterday), simply don’t believe the notion that catholics campaigning for Civil Rights in the 60s were anything other than rabble-rousing criminals.
    That, my bigotted chum, is because of sectarian slander fed to unionists and loyalists to make them believe that all catholics were potential IRA men. And if you actually look at the unionists you mention and the Daily Heil etc, you will see that they aren’t ‘dis-believing’ Saville, but are just unleashing the most crass ‘whataboutery’ (gettin’ sick of that phrase) simply because they don’t like ‘fenians’ having all the limelight and sympathy – even if it’s just for one day to recognise a catastrophic error by one of the world’s most famous armies – when even that army themselves has held its hands up.
    Can I ask, MUU, what’s it like being so genuinely sectarian…does it hurt?

  • EyeontheNorth

    All killed on that day were non-combatants, dickhead!!
    Where you fucking there? No, didn’t think so. But your assumption of the victim’s ‘guilt’ is somehow above a report which was so precise that it took 12 years and cost millions to prepare???
    Jesus, why didn’t you speak up then, you could have saved the government a shitload of time and money. The MidUlsterUnionist Inquirey!!
    I can imagine it now.
    14 Dead….all Taigs….so no big deal!

  • joe mack

    martin mcguinness doesnt believe Saville so why should anyone else

  • joe mack

    Donaghy had four nail bombs on him

    Little wonder Martin “Saville got it wrong” McGuinnes and Adams were there yesterday

  • Mick Fealty

    Yellow Card Joe Mack. Keep that up and it will go Red in very short order!

  • EyeontheNorth

    Joe Mack you’re pondscum.

  • joe mack

    and lets remember McGuinness doesnt believe the Saville report.

  • midulsterunionist

    I didn’t say I disbelieved saville either, i said i didnt agree with some of his findings…some not all… that doesn’t make me a bigot or sectarian.

    It’s nice to know that republicans can praise the British Prime Minister and his government and a member of Britain’s supreme court for their findings into a British affair in a British town whilst still pretending to denounce the British as liars… i gues they are only lying when they don’t tell you what you want to hear? Republicans really have come far from the days of “I do not accept the legitimacy of this court”

  • joe mack

    lets see wee martin “saville got it wrong” mcguinness in action

    was this before or after the killing of the RUC men in londonderry in 1972? what you didnt hear about them? now theres a surpise

  • Eire32

    “more loyalists were improsiioned that republicans”


  • EyeontheNorth

    You mean the ones planted on him after an army medic missed them? Even if….even fucking if…he had nail bombs on him, then how did the paras know? Did they see him throwing any? And if they did, while wearing their heavy armour and armed to the teeth with army firepower, their way of dealing with a teenager and his home-made bomb is instant death?
    But that’s beside’s the point, because Donaghy was innocent.
    And what of the other 13, what were they ‘combating’ with, or does one meagre home-made explosive device (which never existed, it was planted), justify the shooting of 14 people, some of whom were crawlking away, and others who were tending to injured loved ones.
    Heartless bastard.

  • joeCanuck

    He’s just a wind-up merchant. Classic troll.

  • Mickles

    Hey Joe Mack: maybe you should read this page regarding who did or didn’t have a nailbomb:

    Oh and since we’re posting pics of people with guns:

  • midulsterunionist

    from what i can see anyone who doesn’t support the saville inquirey are bigots and sectarian and just hate fenians… a yearning for the real truth doens’t come into it. Its typical republican spin… “if you don’t agree with us then your a bigot”

  • Mick Fealty

    He’s gone EOTE, to the same excluded place as four other trolls in the last 24 hours. Carry on by all means, but make effort to do it civilly, and don’t engage with wind up merchants.

  • Mick Fealty

    Better make that five now that Foyle Observer’s just made a rapid exit…

  • EyeontheNorth

    Typical sectarian unionist reaction. Demand that Republicans change their ways….then slag them off for abandoning their principals when they do.
    Catch 22 much?
    You said you didn’t agree with it. I’ve read hundreds of unionist comments, and they still haven’t gave a clear outline as to what exactly their problem is….even though we know that when it comes to people like you, it’s just bigotry.
    Anyway, stop talking about republicans….this is about innocent civil rights marchers….your problem is that you still think of anyone who didnt tow the Orange State line was a rebel and therefore republican/IRA combatant.

  • EyeontheNorth

    Apologies for the ripe language Mick.

  • fin

    To be fair, I find myself agreeing with MUU and others, re-reading Daveys statement and listening to it yesterday I was struck by how he seems to be talking about a different country. Although to be even more fair I don’t know where unionists are coming from, have I missed something or technically was this all about British soldiers, shooting dead 14 British citizens/subjects attending a British Civil Rights march in a British city, yet even unionists seem to refer to this as if it happened in a different country.


    this is my first posting here and what a day for it. Let’s move on from this. I have a message to both Nationalists and Unionists:

    To Nationalists :
    Deep down, unionists have no problem with finding the 14 deaths deemed unlawful and that the 14 are exonerated. Unionists have a problem however with what is seen as the ignoring of the atrocities that affected Unionist communities. They see Derry’s celebrations yesterday as slightly triumphalist, I hasten to add not by the families but by SF etc. Seeing SF take the moral highground frankly makes a lot of Unionists sick but in no way does any right thinking person disagree with Saville and we wish the families well. Please understand that while you are undergoing a catharsis for Bloody Sunday, that Unionists also need their catharsis too. A Truth and Reconciliation Commission where every participant, be it killer, terrorist, victim etc can give frank and open testimoney with absolute clemency so that the truth can out. SF do act very arrogantly. They talk about a heirarchy of victims not existing but they seem to see their own victims as more equal than others. This is the perception amongst Unionists and no amount of arguing on this forum or anywhere else will change that. You have to reach out and understand Unionist concerns. This doesn’t mean you cease being a Nationalist. At the end of the day, the British could leave tomorrow but that would not guarantee a united Ireland. If you want 1 million extra British souls to be brouight into an all Irish Republic, now is the time to show generosity and magnamnamity (cant’ spell that word). My message to Unionism is below:

    To Unionists : agreeing with something that happens to be agreeable to your enemy does not make that something become intrinsically wrong. This is dangerous logic and its the self defeating logic that had dogged Unionism for decades. Yes, you support the British Army and I understand your cultural heritage and loyalty to the Army but it does take a hard heart not to see that what happened on Bloody Sunday was wrong. Saying that the Army got it wrong once or twice is not the same as a blanket admonishment of the Army nor is it the same as supporting the IRA. By supporting Saville, lets take Unionism to the moral highground. You cannot reach out to Roman Catholics by castigating Saville. To preserver the Union, you will need RC support in the near future. Think tactically at least or with largesse and common sense at most. By doing this, take the wind out of Republican sails and also ask for a Truth and Reconcilation Commissoin so that all crimes can be given their just investigation and airing.

  • Ulster Is BRitish

    ask for a Truth and Reconcilation Commissoin so that all crimes can be given their just investigation and airing……..

    so gerry adams can tell us agian he wasnt in the IRA , or for Martin McGuinness to tell us he did have that machine gun? God you ar soo naive its unreal

  • keano

    if he didnt speak for you , then you are nothing but a bigot.


    There were more people involved in terrorism that Adams and McGunness. Let them speak for themselves, let other lesser mortals speak for THEMselves. Not every gun fired or bomb planted was by Adams and McGuinness but by dozens if not hundreds of others, many of whom do have issues of conscience. Ditto on the Loyalist side.

    Also, the only people who would turn up to such a Commission would be bona fide and with something tangible to tell. Why would you attend a Truth commission to say it wasn’t me guv?

  • keano

    if you dont like it, just go back to scotland, we didnt ask you to come over here. when in rome, live like romans.
    [ Keano as a racist comment this one should really be deleted, but have a quick read of those who died on Bloody Sunday, most of the surnames are Scottish ]

  • bazmc

    if your going to take that line of thinking the army would have been right to have opened fire indiscriminately at drumcree and slaughtered a few unionists! innocent people were slaughtered on the streets and quite frankly who cares what a few bigots think of saville, the families are happy surely thats what counts!!

  • keano

    you want to blame the ira for everything. there would be no ira if catholics were treated as human beings. wake up. if you want to talk about terror in ireland be realistic, the irish suffered 800 years of terror in british hands and no doubt we will keep suffering until we are free.

  • Simple

    Total make believe. Simply look at the statistical facts. A loyalist killer was statistically more likely to end up in jail than a republican killer, and most of them ended up in jail.

    Certainly there may be instances of wrongdoing by spooks / special branch acting with loyalists just as there may well be instances of the same acting with republicans (e.g. failing to prevent murders to protect agent’s cover). There were instances of security forces personnel giving republican suspects data to loyalists, but the numbers of republicans actually killed by loyalists simply does not support this as being the normal course of events.

    Just look at the actual facts and apply logic rather than a tin foil hat.

    Loyalist terrorists were autonomous of the state, a reaction both to mass murder of the Protestant community and the threat of being forced, as they see it, under the rule of a foreign country (hence the great increase in new members of loyalist groups after the Anglo Irish Agreement). Were they greatly infiltrated by spooks? Yes of course they were and so was the IRA, but they existed through elements of the community and the raw emotions engendered both by the murderous nature and the existential threat of the IRA. It’s ludicrous to paint Loyalist paramilitaries as some kind of branch of the state.

  • Blue Hammer

    Nice, if quick, revisionism of Saville already there EOTN. Saville did not conclude that Mr Donaghy’s bomb had been planted on his corpse, so how do you?

    I consider it impossible to class someone as completely “innocent” if they are rioting, marching illegally, carrying firearms or possessing nail-bombs. Maybe my standards are higher.

  • Clanky

    Cameron’s response was both dignified and statesmanlike, while someone posted elsewhere on slugger that the Saville report left him no choice as it was so unambiguous he went much further than he had to in not only acknowledging the findings of the report but in accepting it in the spirit in which he did.

    It is now time for Unionists and Unionist politicians in the North of Ireland to do the same, the report in no way takes anything away from what the unionist population in the North of Ireland has suffered throughout the troubles and in no way weakens their claims that Northern Ireland should remain as part of the Union, unionism has nothing to lose and everything to gain by accepting that wrongs were done to the people of Derry on Bloody Sunday. Arguing over petty technicalities when people who lost loved ones are celebrating that their names have been cleared of wrongdoing just makes unionists (or at least, those who are doing so) look small minded and petty.

    It is also time now for Republicans to hold there hands up and admit that they have done wrong, just as it should not have taken a multi million pound public inquiry for the British government to admit to its wrongdoing it should not take it for the republican movement, once again everything to gain and nothing to lose.

  • mcslanders

    I think that Unionist misgivings around Saville are understandable but ultimately misguided. On the one hand they see those who have perpetrated horrendous acts against their community walking the streets or snuggly ensconced in government while members of the security forces (their perceived protectors) are seemingly hounded and vilified.

    However, to equate the two is wrong. The IRA was an illegal terrorist organization. Its disregard for human life was obvious for all to see. Nobody could expect any better of it and its members were pursued under the law.

    The security forces must be held to a different standard. They are supposed to uphold law and order in accordance with the rule of law. Failure to do so removes any moral or legal authority they may claim to have and Bloody Sunday was such a failure.

  • Clanky

    “I consider it impossible to class someone as completely “innocent” if they are rioting, marching illegally, carrying firearms or possessing nail-bombs. Maybe my standards are higher”

    Saville did not class anyone as innocent, but he did say that they had done nothing which justified the army opening fire on them. The families used the term innocent in reference to the lies spread by the army which accused the dead men of everything from firing on them to throwing petrol and nail bombs at them and thus justifying the army’s use of deadly force.

  • Drumlins Rock

    you’ve been busy Mick!

  • slug

    Please – let us not talk to one another like that, keano.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Drumlin’s Rock:

    However it also hilights that underlying issue of Republican violence remains unresolved, and therefore makes empathy with the Bloody Sunday victims difficult for most unionists,

    I’d like to understand why this is the case. The people who were shot dead had nothing to do with “republican violence”.

    possibly a similar statement from the Deputy First Minister could start that process.

    If you want to draw a parallel between the IRA and the British Government it is your prerogative. If you’re going to do that, then given that the IRA unilaterally surrendered and disarmed, and that SF are now operating the institutions and supporting the police service they vowed to bring down, isn’t that sufficient ? Didn’t the IRA already apologize for the civilians that it killed ?

    Regarding the events that took place on that day, there is no doubt in my mind that some of the people in the crowd – and indeed, some of those who were shot – were there with the intention of taking on the army and police. Given all the other incidents, right up to the present day, where young people gather to throw stones and petrol bombs at the police/army at the usual hotspots, nobody should be surprised by this.

    However, I do not understand why it is so hard for unionists to accept that the army were wrong to open fire despite the likelihood of the intentions of some of the victims. For a start, in a democracy in the UK, the one unionists claim to be loyal to, everyone is entitled to a presumption of innocence until proven otherwise in a court of law. On this basis the relatives are entirely correct to regard the victims as innocent.

    Shooting someone dead on suspicion of intent isn’t a proportionate response and it is a concept that serves to undermine the freedoms and liberty that the union was supposed to have been founded upon. If it is fair for the army to shoot troublemakers, then will those unionists argue that the army would have been right if it had opened fire on the illegally-gathered crowd at Drumcree during those nasty periods in the 1990s ? Should they have opened fire on the illegal loyalist strike in 1974 ? The fact that these simple things don’t seem to compute is a further reminder of how far some elements of unionism can go before they can be trusted in government without some kind of counterbalance. How could anyone allow people with these attitudes to be in charge of the police or the army ?

    Finally, another point I made yesterday was that unionists should take some succour from the fact that justice being seen to be done within the British state, albeit belatedly, goes some way to undermine the fundamental republican/nationalist case that justice can’t take place as long as Ireland is under British rule. The crowds at the Guildhall were there applauding and cheering British justice, announced by a British Conservative Prime Minister. Surely that means something.


    He spoke for me.

  • alan56

    One can only hope that Saville gives closure and helps to heal the pain of the relatives. Unionists should take some satisfaction that the British Government showed maturity and sensitivity on its reaction to the report. There is something in this for everyone in Northern Ireland but will they see it? Hope so.

  • Greenflag

    ‘The crowds at the Guildhall were there applauding and cheering British justice, announced by a British Conservative Prime Minister. Surely that means something.’

    Well said CS

    One can only hope it represents another step forward in securing the peace . Other crowds of an earlier time brought out out cups of tea to the British army troops that had been sent in to protect them from ‘state ‘ inspired violence 🙁 For reasons too numerous to relate that brief respite did not last .

  • Ulster Is BRitish

    I’d like to understand why this is the case. The people who were shot dead had nothing to do with “republican violence”……………..

    they were on a illegal march where soliders where attacked , shot at and had nail bombs threw at them

    I call that republican violence

  • Ulster Is BRitish

    On this basis the relatives are entirely correct to regard the victims as innocent…………………..

    not if they are found with nail bombs on their person

  • vanhelsing

    I predicted it first:)

  • vanhelsing

    ORWELLSPEN – that’s good I like it. You’ll find here the extremes won’t but don’t let that stop you from posting. As a true blue Unionist I embrace your sentiments. I hope that Nationists can find the same middle ground.

    Keep posting…


  • Comrade_Trotsky

    midulsterunionist says: 16 June 2010 at 4:33 pm

    “…the paras were under immense stress and should be praised for only slippling up once… in 30 years”

    They didn’t just ‘slip up’ once though. For example, the ‘Ballymurphy Massacre’ – between the 9th and the 11th of August 1971, 11 innocent people (including a RC Priest going to the aid of a wounded man) were shot dead by the Parachute Regiment.

  • Munsterview


    Agreed all games must have some rules including debate; however I would question in this particular instance of red carding is the pest policy.

    Are we better off knowing what is lurking and sulking around in the undergrowth out there; rules of libel permitting?

    While a relative newcomer to slugger I have, nevertheless, seen enough postings form decent Unionists to believe that this sectarian bilge would not go unanswered.

    Red carding will only remove such outrageous bilge from this site, it will not change the opinions or views of these people.

    Why not let the sane moderate Unionist voices deal with these people, it is important to get the responses of this voice to this bilge too?

    Likewise from the Green extremes, there are more than enough moderate voices on this side of the equation to deal with them and also expose this bile for what it is!

  • midulsterunionist

    by moderate unionist do you mean minority unionist?

  • midulsterunionist

    sorry twice in thirty years… and only a small number of the paras slipped up, that’s still a great record

  • Drumlins Rock

    “I’d like to understand why this is the case. The people who were shot dead had nothing to do with “republican violence”
    But many campaigning on their behalf had, and as had been seen by many comments on here their deaths have been used to justify many many others.

    “Didn’t the IRA already apologize for the civilians that it killed ?”
    Although I cant remember the full details of that statement, and it would never go far enough for many victims, may I suggest if it was restated and built upon it could help to move things forward?

  • steadfast

    Catch yourself on. The War didn’t start on Bloody Sunday, or a few days before that, when the RUC officers were killed. Selective memory is still DENIAL. The only way to change things is to change our hearts NOW. As painful as it is, forgiveness is the only way to move forward, it releases you from me and me from you, them from us and us from them. There will be no progress or reconciliation until we want it from a point of love and respect for our fellow human beings. If we can’t forgive it’s probably because we don’t want to. It must be one of the only things in the world that’s harder to do than to grow up, and watch your kids grow up in a war of hatred and unspeakable violence. Shame on you who still hate and prefer a life of sectarianism and unaccountability. It leaves an evil legacy for your children.

  • steadfast

    You’ve got to be kidding me! Your missing the point …. Guilty or Innocent, they were still SHOT DEAD, presumed guilty. That’s not how it’s supposed to work.

  • Kevin Barry

    Being shot dead for being on an illegal march is so incredibly disproportionate it beggars belief; what’s more, seemingly not having a problem with this shows a lack of a moral compass

  • Kevin Barry

    Agreed, however, this brings cold comfort to the families of those who have lost loved ones thanks to a ‘slip up’.

  • It’s hard to know what gesture Sinn Fein could make that would in any way mean something to the victims of the IRA’s terror campaign. The only noble thing they could do is disband as a party. In fact, if a UI were even a remote possibility, I would think that one of the conditions should be that SF be disbanded. Even better if they would volunteer to do it. Why not disband now? Why not? I would think their departure would do much to take the poison out of the air and offer some crumb of closure to the IRA’s victims. As a constitutional nationalist, we can do perfectly fine without our blood brothers.

  • Munsterview

    N. Exile
    A possible wee bit of reading for you : it seems the world have produced quite a few clones of the Irish Republican Army and Sinn Fein in the twentieth century. The Native Irish were not the only peoples not to appreciate Bloody Sunday experiences of British Democracy!

    In Mark Curtis’ eye-opening book

    ‘Web of Deceit: Britain’s Real Role in the World’,

    the realities of British power and greed are encapsulated in factual chapters, which have been written after studying declassified information of Britain’s role in a number of global situations. This is truth, from the horse’s mouth so to speak, and it does not make particularly edifying reading.

    As well as his page by page dissection of well-spread lies by the British elite when tackling popular uprisings in Africa, British Guiana and many other places throughout the 20th century, he criticises the media, even the liberal, intellectual and so-called independent media and journalists, for largely ignoring the injustices sown by Britain.

    This speaks of a bigger picture, and of the class structures within Britain itself, where individuals have colluded and conspired to ignore unpalatable realities so long as they in some ways benefited. In present day terms, we might well ask why in Britain, at the heart of a modern democracy, there are vast gulfs of wealth disparity between rich and poor, and we might ask why a country awash with wealth and resources should become even more divided than poorer countries, with an immoral class system that remains basically unquestioned at this time.

  • Comrade Stalin


    But many campaigning on their behalf had, and as had been seen by many comments on here their deaths have been used to justify many many others.

    I think we need to get ourselves away from the mindset of judging a particular cause based on the people who support it. The provos like to take credit for things that they were almost nothing to do with, that includes the BS justice campaign, and it also includes things like the whole “Free Derry” thing which was almost nothing to do with the PIRA. It was the Irish government and the SDLP that pressured the British to hold an enquiry, not SF.

    “Didn’t the IRA already apologize for the civilians that it killed ?”
    Although I cant remember the full details of that statement, and it would never go far enough for many victims, may I suggest if it was restated and built upon it could help to move things forward?

    I recall the IRA statement as offering remorse to non-combatants, ie “combatants” were rather specifically excluded from the apology. To me, for them to issue a statement right now would look an awful lot like opportunism, and an attempt to position themselves as equals to the British army – I don’t see how that would work out well for Unionism.

  • Comrade Stalin

    they were on a illegal march where soliders where attacked , shot at and had nail bombs threw at them

    So, like I said. If the soldiers had fired on the crowd at Drumcree 96 (when a tanker was brought in and the rumour set about that the loyalists would spray petrol on the Army and light it) – you’d have been OK with that ?

  • Comrade Stalin

    not if they are found with nail bombs on their person

    Are you aware of the fact that we live in a democracy, with courts of law and due process ?

  • EyeontheNorth

    A march to demand civil rights should never be illegal. Is death a fair sentence for a young man in a riot caused by the state clamping down on those demanding civil rights?

  • Mickles

    Does no-one read the report? Or do you just ignore it because it isn’t in line with your world view that ‘all catholics are terrorists’?

    Here is the page about nail bombs, for MUU, Joe Mack and Ulster is British , please read it before making ill informed comments:

    Oh and ‘Ulster is British’, I didn’t realise Cavan Donegal and Monaghan were british?????

  • Reader

    Comrade Stalin: Didn’t the IRA already apologize for the civilians that it killed ?
    Not really. the apology was so wrapped around with reservations that it certainly excludes Teebane, Kingsmills, and Enniskillen; and most likely also excludes La Mon, Bloody Friday and the Shankill bombing in the minds of those who carried out those attacks.
    In fact, you would need a very penetrating inquiry, or a telepath, to find out what killings they actually apologised for.

  • steadfast

    I’m surprised and so disappointed at the vitriole – the tit-for-tatting that has followed these posts. I made a comment earlier about forgiveness “It must be one of the only things in the world that’s harder to do than to grow up, and watch your kids grow up in a war of hatred and unspeakable violence. Shame on you who still hate and prefer a life of sectarianism and unaccountability. It leaves an evil legacy for your children.” Yet no-one seems to have responded to that… It’s incredible what people say about themselves when they are silent. Hmmm.

  • steadfast

    It’s worth acknowledging that Bloody Sunday wasn’t one “slip-up”, it was 14, and Ballymurphy – 11. (and the rest) Doesn’t look like a great record really does it? MUU, wise up. You should be ashamed of yourself. Don’t you want to be a better person? Have you felt this insignificant and hollow all your life? Well the good news is, showing some real upright character can change that. I’m sure you can do it if you want to. I have chosen to believe you can be a better person and someone who can feel valuable and worthwhile through truly good deeds, words and thoughts. I believe that if you want to, you can get your heart right.