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Senior Orangeman praises Bloody Sunday campaigners

A senior Orange Order member has spoken of his appreciation of the "tenacity" of Bloody Sunday campaigners after the release of the Saville Inquiry report.

Belfast County Grand Master Tom Haire addressed supporters in Scotland where he devoted much of his speech to fresh calls for unionist politicians to unite against Sinn Fein.

But he also spoke about the release of the Saville report, which exonerated the 14 civil rights marchers who died after being shot by British paratroopers in Londonderry in 1972, saying the Bloody Sunday campaigners had shown dedication to their cause.

Mr Haire highlighted the near £200 million cost of the Saville probe and said other notorious episodes from the Troubles should be investigated.

He said: "We, as loyalists, must appreciate the tenacity of the Bogsiders in pursuing their aims and learn from them that 38 years is never too long to pursue an inquiry."

"I consider after 38 years of hearing about Bloody Sunday it's time to draw a line and move on in the interests of peace in my province.

"There should be no prosecutions. Let everyone move on with their lives."

He said that more than 50 paratroopers died in Northern Ireland during the Troubles, adding: "Many more members of the armed forces, including Scotland, also paid the supreme sacrifice in Ulster and it is still our duty to uphold, support and encourage them as they continue their peacekeeping duties in other theatres of conflict.

"It has to be remembered there have been other violent incidents carried out by terrorists that have been airbrushed from the scene.

"Over 3,600 lost their lives due to the Troubles, but no inquiries have even been considered in any effort to bring resolution and comfort to those bereaved or injured."

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