Bloody Sunday report: main points

15th June 2010, Comments 0 comments

Here is a summary of the main findings of a report out Tuesday into the events of Bloody Sunday in 1972, when 13 protestors were killed by British soldiers in one of Northern Ireland's blackest days.

- None of the people shot dead on Bloody Sunday was armed or "posing a threat of causing death or serious injury".

- No protestors threw or threatened to throw nail or petrol bombs, despite soldiers' efforts to justify themselves before the inquiry in this way.

- There were no members of republican militant group the Irish Republican Army (IRA) among the dead or injured, although one of those killed was a member of the Provisional IRA's youth movement.

- What happened was "a catastrophe for the people of Northern Ireland" which "increased nationalist resentment and hostility towards the army and exacerbated the violent conflict of the years that followed".

- The order to go into the Bogside, the area of Londonderry where the killings took place, "should not have been given".

- There was a "serious and widespread loss of fire discipline" among soldiers.

- It is impossible to say whether there was a culture of firing with impunity among soldiers in Northern Ireland at the time.

- British and Northern Ireland governments plus the military did not intend, plan or foresee what happened.

- Northern Ireland Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, then an IRA commander, was present and "probably" armed with a sub-machine gun which it was "possible" he fired. But there is insufficient evidence to make a finding on this.

- Soldiers did not give any warnings before they opened fire.

- They had no way of distinguishing between "peaceful marchers and those who had been rioting".

- The fatal shots were fired within the space of just ten minutes.

- Soldiers fired over 100 rifle rounds on Bloody Sunday.

- None of the victims were shot accidentally "in the sense that the soldier concerned fired at someone posing a threat of causing death or serious injury, but missed and hit a bystander instead".

- Many soldiers who gave evidence to the inquiry which led to the report "knowingly put forward false accounts in order to seek to justify their firing".

© 2010 AFP

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