Bloody Sunday Inquiry

 

A chara, Republican Sinn Fein questions whether the new tribunal into the Bloody Sunday massacre can be truly independent since it will be chaired by a British judge and the other two members of it are "likely to be" (Mr Blair's words) from the British Commonwealth.

Will the tribunal's remit extend not just to the events on the ground that day but also to the motivation and planning of them even at the highest level? It is not good enough that British soldiers be held accountable while policy-makers escape responsibility.

Will the discovery of relevant documents be pursued right through to the top of the British Establishment and will these be published? For instance, will the minutes of the British Cabinet sub-committee which included Prime Minister Edward Heath and William Whitelaw, leader of the Commons, be made available for public scrutiny? It was at this level that the events of Bloody Sunday were planned.

Until such time as the British government disengages finally from Ireland and there is a general amnesty for the events arising out of the conflict in the Six Occupied Counties, prosecutions should be proceeded with where there are grounds for doing do.

Decision makers and all others responsible - and not just members of the British forces - must be made amenable to justice. Otherwise the new tribunal will be just another public relations exercise designed to placate nationally-minded Irish people and further the current endeavour to modernise British rule in Ireland.

Having ignored the Bloody Sunday massacre for 20 years, the Leinster House politicians have pressed for the reopening of the inquiry into it only when this appears useful to the current process.

A public inquiry into a massacre nearer their seat of power - the Dublin and Monaghan bombings of 1974 which claimed 33 lives - has not taken place, nor has the evidence available to the police been published, as has been requested by the families of the dead.

Finally, Republican Sinn Fein would pay tribute to the relatives of the Bloody Sunday dead for their fortitude and persistence in pursuit of the truth and commend all campaigners in this cause for their dedicated work down the years.

Justice must be done with regard to Bloody Sunday - and seen to be done, - Yours etc., Ruairi O Bradaigh, President,

Republican Sinn Fein,

Parnell Street,

Dublin 1.