Thursday 17 August 2017

Moment of truth: report's main findings

"The firing by soldiers of 1 Para caused the deaths of 13 people and injury to a similar number, none of whom was posing a threat of causing death or serious injury."

This also applied to the 14th victim, who died later from injuries.



  • "Despite the contrary evidence given by soldiers, we have concluded that none of them fired in response to attacks or threatened attacks by nail or petrol bombers."


The report added that no one threw, or threatened to throw, nail or petrol bombs at soldiers.



  • The accounts of soldiers given during the inquiry were rejected, with a number said to have "knowingly put forward false accounts".
  • Members of the official IRA fired a number of shots, though it was concluded it was the paratroopers who shot first on Bloody Sunday.
  • Northern Ireland Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, who was second in command of the provisional IRA in Derry in 1972, was "probably armed with a Thompson submachine gun", and though it is possible he fired the weapon, this cannot be proved.


The report concluded: "He did not engage in any activity that provided any of the soldiers with any justification for opening fire."



  • Lord Mark Saville concluded the commander of land forces in Northern Ireland, Major General Robert Ford, would have been aware that the Parachute Regiment had a reputation for using excessive force. However, he would not have believed that there was a risk of paratroopers firing unjustifiably.
  • The commanding officer of the paratroopers, Lieutenant Colonel Derek Wilford, disobeyed an order from a superior officer not to enter troops into the nationalist Bogside estate.
  • Lord Saville found his superior officer, Brigadier Patrick MacLellan, held no blame for the shootings because if he had known what Col Wilford was intending, he might well have called it off.
  • No blame was placed on the organisers of the march, the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association.
  • Neither the UK nor Northern Ireland governments planned or foresaw the use of unnecessary lethal force.


Irish Independent

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