Derry marks 30th anniversary of Bloody Sunday


As the people of Derry today marked the 30th anniversary of Bloody Sunday with a minute's silence, the Northern Ireland Secretary, Dr John Reid, said the province must not be shackled by its past.

At 4.15pm a one-minute silence was held in Derry to mark the exact moment paratroopers opened fire on a civil rights march in the nationalist Bogside and killed 13 innocent civilians.

Relatives of those who died were also attending a special service in the city's Catholic St Eugene's Cathedral and re-dedicating a memorial to the fallen.

Dr Reid, speaking in Belfast, said his thoughts were today with the families of those who died on Bloody Sunday.

"It is an anniversary today which will evoke very painful memories and unfortunately the past 30 years in Northern Ireland have created too many such anniversaries and too much pain."

The Saville Inquiry had been established to discover the truth of what happened on that fateful day, he said. But it was also important that the natural concern with the past did not stop people moving forward.

The events of Bloody Sunday and others like the Enniskillen bombing were, by any standards a tragedy, he said and the truth must be uncovered.

But he said : "But I also think that it should not shackle us to the past and at some stage we have to draw a line, not in forgetting everything from the past but in using those memories as a dynamo for our resolution that these events will never occur again."

The Saville Inquriy will not sit today or tomorrow in an acknowledgement of the commemorative events in the city, but will start hearing the evidence of RUC officers when they resume again on Monday after more than a year of civilian testimonies.