Saturday 18 November 2017

Maurice Hayes: No triumphalism, just sensitivity and dignity on a remarkable day

Maurice Hayes

Maurice Hayes

The thumbs-up seen through the screened windows of Derry's Guildhall told it all, even before the British prime minister rose to speak in the House of Commons. The high-fives of the families as they emerged from purdah inside, and the ritual shredding of the Widgery report, said it all.

The victims were innocent, each and every one of them, their deaths were unjustified and unjustifiable, and Widgery was a whitewash.

It was an intensely moving spectacle as the families, one by one, invoked the words of Saville to assert, after 38 agonised years, the innocence of a son, a brother, a father, an uncle. The dignity and restraint with which they did so was quite remarkable, as was the lack of triumphalism and the sensitivity of the decision to begin the proceedings with a call for a minute's silence to honour all those who died in the conflict.

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