29/09/2017

Former IRA Members Could Face Prosecution Over Bloody Sunday

Two former members of the Offiicial IRA could face prosecution for their role in the events of Bloody Sunday in L'Derry.

A file from the police has been forwarded to the Public Prosecution Service (PPS) on one former Official IRA member and another file is being prepared on another ex-member.

A decision on whether either will face prosecution is expected to be made within six months.

The PPS has written to the families informing them of the development.

Thirteen people were shot dead when the Army's Parachute Regiment opened fire on civil rights demonstrators in 1972.

A murder investigation was launched in 2012.

A PPS spokesperson said: "Over the course of last year, the PSNI has provided around 35 lever arch files of material, with further material anticipated. Our focus currently is completing our analysis of the police investigation files and on the identification of all significant legal issues and their resolution.

"We have consistently made it clear that the prosecution task in this case is considerable but we are making steady progress."

Ulster Unionist Justice Spokesperson Doug Beattie MC MLA said: "Bloody Sunday was one of the darkest days of Northern Ireland’s recent history and up until now there has been a single narrative around the events of that day which led to an acknowledgment by David Cameron, the then Prime Minister, where he said the actions of British soldiers were wrong.
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"What seemed to get lost was the fact that in the six months leading up to Bloody Sunday the IRA murdered six soldiers and two RUC officers in Londonderry, and indeed on Bloody Sunday itself, another soldier died of injuries sustained in an attack in the city four months previously.

"This nails the myth that the Troubles somehow began with the events of that tragic day.

"It is worth noting that investigations by the PSNI Legacy Investigations Branch (LIB) have shown that not only was the IRA active on that day, but the actions of its members helped to create the situation that left 13 innocent people dead. Martin McGuinness, feted in death, was in life one of those who ignited a volatile situation.

"The Saville Report found that that shortly after the first two civilians were shot, members of the Official IRA fired a rifle at soldiers near where the march was taking place. Saville also found that Martin McGuinness had engaged in paramilitary activity during the day and that he was 'probably armed with a Thompson sub-machine gun'.

"The families deserve all the truth and at the moment Sinn Fein - the holders of the IRA archive and institutional memory - know the truth. It is time they stood up and explained exactly what the IRA’s real role was during the events of that day. It is time they acknowledged the actions of IRA members on that day were wrong, and as they call for British soldiers to be charged, so too they need to call for those IRA members to be charged as well."

(CD)

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