PSNI investigation of Bloody Sunday show limits of GFA in dealing with the past.

So the PSNI are going to open an investigation into Bloody Sunday. So, in theory at least, no one  is safe from possible future prosecution. Richard Dannett, former Chief of the General Staff in the British Army notes: Soldiers gave evidence [to Saville] in good faith not fearing later prosecution. Is that good faith now to be abused? And 2010 the Nationalist community in Londonderry seemed to accept the Saville findings thus apparently closing that sorry chapter of Northern Ireland history. … Read more

The political vacuum is compromising the standing of the PSNI

When criticism is made from both directions it’s often said that the subject of the criticism must be doing something right.  I suspect that’s what Matt Baggott is thinking now over the rows about recent arrests on both sides of the divide. There is an alternative view of course; he may be getting it wrong across the board. Either way a small storm of whataboutery is blowing. It must not get out of hand.  Willie Frazer is a hero to … Read more

The PSNI investigation into Bloody Sunday is mistaken. Try them for perjury

Many people will say that if ever there was a suitable case for prosecution, it’s Bloody Sunday when paratroop soldiers shot 14 people  before the eyes of many of us around at time. But challenged on whether I approve  of the opening of a police inquiry into Bloody Sunday that will take four years , I’ve decided to come clean and say  I think it’s fundamentally mistaken. How disillusioning is this development for the many who deceived themselves when they thought closure had been … Read more

After “closure,” the reopening of Bloody Sunday for at least four more years

  In a statement, police said that for the investigation to be as “comprehensive and effective” as possible, they would be asking witnesses who gave evidence to the Saville inquiry to make statements to detectives. “This is because police are precluded from using Saville testimony in a criminal investigation. Details on how this process will be facilitated will be made available in the near future,” the statement said Press Release from Madden & Finucane Solicitors regarding Bloody Sunday Inquiry Report … Read more

Bloody Sunday soldiers to face investigation…

So, presumably on foot of the mountain of material generated by the Saville Inquiry, the PSNI is to open a major criminal investigation into the deaths of Bloody Sunday. Well, if proof were needed it certainly kills off the notion that anything that happened before 1998 has some sort of immunity. Well, yes, except that earlier in the week, the Secretary of State told families of the Ballymurphy/Springfield Park killings from about six months before (and involving the same regiment) … Read more

“Last January, the vast majority of families decided that the 39th Anniversary would be the last march”

Despite the declaration by the organising committee last year following the publication of the Saville Inquiry report, and the absence of endorsement by the Bloody Sunday Trust this year, a sizeable number of people took part in the 40th anniversary Bloody Sunday march in Londonderry yesterday.  Estimates range from several hundred to almost 3000. And, although Eamonn McCann doesn’t directly cite the absence of the Trust’s endorsement of yesterday’s march among the reasons for his resignation as chairman, he does register his disagreement with that decision. … Read more

‘Derry is a better place’

  This little quote may not be the answer to everything but is part of a quite uplifting overview in the Guardian from a Derry women of the younger generation, Jeananne Craig, “a Derry journalist now living and working in London.” Bloody Sunday was not a talking point when I, a Catholic, moved on to my predominantly Protestant grammar school. My schoolfriends growing up in the city’s largely unionist Waterside area no doubt had a different viewpoint to the one … Read more

Tears in the Rain comes to Golden Thread Gallery

The Belfast Telegraph is reporting a new exhibition at Belfast’s Golden Thread Gallery called “Tears in the Rain” curated by Máirtín Ó Muilleoir. This exhibition “concentrates on the role art plays in keeping hope alive through the darkest of times and conveying a sense of a shared humanity” The exhibition at the Arts Council and Belfast City Council funded gallery will include the painting “Silver Liberties” by conceptualist artist Conrad Atkinson which was banned from the Ulster Museum in 1978, … Read more

MoD offer compensation to Bloody Sunday families

The BBC are reporting that the Ministry of Defence has offered to pay compensation to the families of those killed and injured on Bloody Sunday. Following the Saville enquiry and David Cameron’s apology for Bloody Sunday in the House of Commons, the solicitors Madden and Finucane who represent a number of the families wrote to the Prime Minister. They asked the government what steps it was taking to “fully compensate” the families for “the loss of their loved ones, the … Read more

Truth recovery would benefit from Adams and McGuinness disclosures

What was supposed to be the last ‘Bloody Sunday’ march was held at the weekend in Londonderry. It was an occasion when families of those who died will have a particular outlook and the original event was a tragedy for those who lost their lives but the wider community must never forget the comprehensive attempts being made by many others to re -write the history of the context for the original march. Thankfully no -one was murdered and the deed virtually forgotten before the final bloody … Read more

The Last Bloody Sunday March: Changing How We Remember the Past?

The adjective ‘historic’ gets used far too often in Northern Ireland, but yesterday’s Bloody Sunday March in Derry just might be worthy of the word. In the wake of the Saville Report, the committee of the Bloody Sunday Weekend decided that this would be the last year that the march went ahead. The rationale is that the Saville Report has confirmed the innocence of the victims. It has vindicated not only those who died but also the families and supporters … Read more

Woodward bombshell on Troubles legacy

The unlikely figure of Shaun Woodward has blown apart the smooth surface of Westminster consensus by launching an attack on his successor for dilatoriness in tackling the legacy of the Troubles. In a long and impassioned speech in a debate on the Saville report, Woodward accused Secretary of State Owen Paterson of stalling a decision on a public inquiry into the Finucane murder and dealing with other major incidents like Claudy, Omagh and Ballymurphy. ” We can’t say to the … Read more

Bloody Sunday debate exposes doubt and disagreement over dealing with Northern Ireland’s past

No points to the Commons and Lords for the scheduling clash between the debate on lessons from the Bloody Sunday inquiry in the Upper House and Lord Saville’s personal appearance before the NI Select Committee yesterday. MPs failed to lay a glove on the now retired Supreme Court member over the epic 10 year time scale and £190 million cost of an inquiry whose impact casts a long shadow over the whole public inquiry system.. MPs were naturally caught between … Read more

Facebook hate site targeting Gregory Campbell removed

Last week saw incredible scenes of human and political theatre as the relatives of the Bloody Sunday victims found some degree of closure over the killing of their loved ones… But there was also a pretty nasty backdraft against some public figures who dared to asked questions of the public consensus not least around the bloody context of the killings. Chief target for the permanently angry brigade was Gregory Campbell, who had a particularly nasty Facebook group closed down: I … Read more

FitzGerald: How a single Dail debate lanced a bloody boil of war…

I’ve no doubt we will hear more about the way we need to handle the past in the wake of the publication of last week’s publication of the Saville report. But I was struck by Garrett FitzGerald’s piece in Saturday’s Irish Times which subtly highlights the difference – at the time of the shootings – between having a functional democratic parliamentary assembly (ie the Oireachtas), and having a supremely dysfunctional one (ie, contemporary Stormont) in this personal anecdote, first on … Read more

“when trying to reconstruct history, dip your bucket as close to the source as possible”

Former Sunday Times Insight journalist, Peter Pringle, savoured the publication of the Saville Inquiry report.  And he had some interesting thoughts on Saville’s methodology But questions about Saville’s report on Bloody Sunday remain to be addressed: how did they sift the evidence? What evidence did they leave in, or out? What did the secret services redact? Why did he take so long? Here’s a suggestion of how to start reading beyond the headlines: look at Saville’s methods for reconstructing history. Mark … Read more

Time to admit the limits of dealing with the past

It is pretty clear that the State – or a part of it at any rate – is moving towards closing legal process in three years for dealing with the past and that anything further will be dealt with and funded privately. In the wake of the Saville report, nothing is to be gained by Westminster and Stormont prevaricating about this any longer. On Monday David Cameron referred all further cases to the Historical Enquiries Team which in March the … Read more

The jury is out (for some)

With the publication of the Saville Report focus is now shifting to the possibility of prosecutions, some paratroopers are already under investigation by the Public Prosecutions Service over perjury at the inquiry but it is unknown if any criminal investigations and/or prosecutions will take place over events on the day. The DUP’s Peter Robinson has called for no prosecutions I think from a political point of view I have to say that I do not believe that there is anything … Read more

Aftermath of Bloody Sunday: The fracture with the British state…

Brian has a post over at Listenderry… it’s a great piece of recollection of some of the emotional events at the funeral… Emerging from the church to the crowd outside, I exchange nods with Brian Friel. Our local Church of Ireland curate has bravely turned up, knowing that some of his congregation will shun him. I spot two Protestant funeral directors well known to me. They have been called in to supplement the burial effort. At least Derry’s undertakers recognise … Read more