Statements on Saville Report
Speaking during statements on the Saville Report in to Bloody Sunday in the Dáil today, Sinn Féin Dáil leader Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD has urged the Irish Government to support calls for an international investigation in to killings by the same Parachute Regiment of the British Army of 11 civilians in Ballymurphy prior to Bloody Sunday. He went on to describe as “disgraceful” the Taoiseachs failure to raise with the British Prime Minister the unanimous call of the Dáil in 2008 for the British Government to “furnish and international judicial figure with all files in its possession relating to the Dublin/Monaghan bombings.”
Opening his contribution to the Statements on Saville Deputy Ó Caoláin said, “The Report of the Saville Inquiry is a vindication of the 14 dead and the injured of Bloody Sunday, 30 January, 1972 in Derry. It is an affirmation of the steadfastness of the families of the dead who campaigned for truth and justice for all of 38 years. I begin by saluting the families, the survivors and the very brave people of the Irish city of Derry whose courage has long been a beacon for freedom-loving people in Ireland and across the world.
“It has taken nearly four decades for the British state to finally acknowledge that fact. Long, long overdue as the acknowledgement is, it is still hugely significant. It ends 38 years of denial and cover-up by successive British governments.
“In all of its major conclusions Saville consigns Widgery to the dustbin of history.
“Widgery was designed to shield the entire chain of command from Downing Street to the soldiers who fired the shots. It gave them immunity and they acted accordingly afterwards. In July 1972 the Paras shot dead five people in Springhill in Belfast.
“Far less well known is the prelude to Bloody Sunday from August the previous year. Over a three-day period following the imposition of internment without trial on 9 August 1971 the same Parachute Regiment of the British Army shot dead 11 people in the Ballymurphy area of West Belfast in similar circumstances to the Derry killings. All were unarmed civilians, one a mother of eight who had gone to the assistance of one of the injured, another a parish priest administering the last rites, some who were shot on the ground while mortally wounded.
“We support the call of the Ballymurphy families for an international investigation into these killings and we urge the Irish Government to fully back that call and to urge the British government to co-operate with such an inquiry.
“The people of Ballymurphy were attacked by the British Army as it imposed internment without trial, imprisoning hundreds of people indefinitely on the basis of a ministerial order. The people of Derry were attacked by the British Army on Bloody Sunday because they were participating in a Civil Rights demonstration against internment.
“The people of Ireland and friends of Ireland were outraged by Bloody Sunday and the British Embassy in Dublin was burned to the ground. And people in the 26 Counties were attacked by British forces as well. Seeing the upsurge in support for Irish republicanism in the 26 Counties in 1972 the British deployed their counter-gangs, the heavily infiltrated unionist paramilitaries. They bombed Dublin in December 1972, killing two people. In May 1974 they bombed Dublin and Monaghan, killing 34. The purpose was to strike terror into the people in this State, to make them fear any show of solidarity with the oppressed nationalist people of the North. This strategy was complemented by the Irish Government which sought to blame republicans for the bombings and which tightened political censorship and repression in this State.
“The Saville Report has given hope to the bereaved and the survivors of Dublin and Monaghan and of the other cross-border bombings and fatal acts of collusion in this jurisdiction. And they badly need some hope. I have to say that it is a disgrace in the context of this debate on Bloody Sunday and the Saville Report, with its vindication of the families, that we have an Irish Government which has cut funding for the only victims group in this State, Justice for the Forgotten.
“It is equally disgraceful that we have a Taoiseach who has failed to raise with the British Prime Minister the unanimous call of this Dáil for the British government to furnish to an international judicial figure all files in its possession relating to the Dublin/Monaghan bombings and the other fatal acts of collusion in this jurisdiction.
“The Saville Report took so long and cost so much for one reason and one reason only – the refusal of the British government and its agencies to tell the truth. But the truth has triumphed.” ENDS