Northern Ireland news

Irish government tried to get Bloody Sunday judicial inquiry in 1997

File photo dated 30/01/1972 of an injured man receiving treatment on Bloody Sunday. Picture from Press Association
Éamon Phoenix

THE Irish government continued its efforts in 1997 to get a fresh judicial inquiry into Bloody Sunday in Derry.

Declassified files from a meeting of the Joint Anglo-Irish Secretariat on February 27, 1997, show that an Irish official sought a complete list of witness statements taken by the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association and the National Council of Civil Liberties and received by the Widgery Tribunal in 1972.

The NIO pointed out that the relevant documents could be obtained from the Public Record Office in Belfast.

The NIO said that in a note to the taoiseach, British ambassador Veronica Sutherland, stated that the British Government would "examine any evidence extremely carefully".

She added: "We have already said we regard the events as a terrible tragedy which should never have occurred. The prime minister has said victims should be regarded as innocent."

In January 1998, Prime Minister Tony Blair announced a new inquiry in Bloody Sunday, led by Lord Saville and to other judges.

In his report in 2010, Saville declared all 13 civilians shot dead attending a civil rights march in 1972 as innocent.

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