PSNI launches inquiry into murders on Bloody Sunday
POLICE in the North yesterday announced the launching of a murder inquiry into the deaths of 13 people killed by paratroopers on Bloody Sunday in 1972. The investigation may take up to four years.
The news caused dismay in many quarters, since most had assumed that the long-running legal saga would be laid to rest following the lengthy Saville report.
The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) made it clear it is less than enthusiastic about diverting resources into such a lengthy investigation. Assistant Chief Constable Drew Harris said police needed to strike a balance between protecting life in the present day and the need to investigate historic crimes.
Thirteen people were shot dead when soldiers opened fire on marchers during a civil rights march in Derry on January 30, 1972.
Two years ago soldiers were heavily criticised in the Saville report, which concluded that none of the casualties posed a threat or were involved in anything to justify being shot.
Accepting the report, David Cameron said the action of troops had been "unjustified and unjustifiable".
The tribunal, which took 12 years to report, collected 2,500 written statements and heard evidence from almost 1,000 witnesses, including many of the soldiers who opened fire.
But the irony is that witnesses were granted immunity from prosecution on the grounds of self-incrimination, which means that any testimony by troops cannot be used against them in future legal proceedings.
Yesterday's announcement was welcomed by John Kelly, whose brother Michael was shot dead.
"It certainly is good news but it is something we had been expecting anyway. Soldiers should have been arrested and prosecuted right away on what came out of the Saville report."
• The Pope has made Nobel peace prize winner John Hume a Papal Knight.
It is in recognition for his outstanding services to Catholic social teaching in the area of peace, Monsignor Eamon Martin of the diocese of Derry, said last night. He has been given the title of Knight of the Equestrian Order of Saint Gregory the Great, he said.
"Mr Hume has worked tirelessly for peace and justice, at considerable personal cost and risk," Mgr Martin said. Mr Hume will receive the honour at a ceremony at a later date.