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Bloody Sunday soldiers who opened fire to questioned by police

By Eamonn MacDermott

Published 18/09/2015

Archive image of soldiers during Bloody Sunday in 1972
Archive image of soldiers during Bloody Sunday in 1972
Police are to interview seven soldiers over Bloody Sunday
Police are to interview seven soldiers over Bloody Sunday
Inquiry: PSNI’s Ian Harrison

Soldiers who fired shots on Bloody Sunday will begin to be interviewed next month in a process that could last several months.

The news emerged after the families of the 14 civil rights demonstrators killed and injured in Derry in January 1972 were briefed by the PSNI on the status of its investigations.

Detective Chief Inspector Ian Harrison, who is heading the probe, told the families at a meeting in a Londonderry hotel that all the civilian witnesses who had agreed to co-operate had been interviewed.

To date, 34 military witnesses had made statements, while some 55 had refused to co-operate.

Of the civilian witnesses, more than 300 had made statements to police while 259 had declined to do so.

It is not yet clear what attitude will be adopted by those who actually fired shots on the day.

Mr Harrison told the families that the process of interviewing them could last into next year. A total of 29 soldiers fired shots on the day, and of those three are dead - leaving 26 to be interviewed by police.

Speaking after the meeting, John Kelly, whose brother Michael was one of those killed, said the families were "frustrated and angry" but felt that they had no choice but to continue with the police investigation.

Mr Kelly said: "This murder investigation was launched in December 2012 and we were told at the time that it would take three to four years.

"Here we are almost three years later and they are only getting around to interviewing the soldiers who fired shots on the day.

Picture by Stanley MAtchett
A victim is carried to an ambulance as a priest waves a bloodsoaked white handkerchief on 'Bloody Sunday' in Derry/Londonderry's Bogside area when paratroopers controversially opened fire on people taking part in a Civil Rights march.
Picture by Stanley MAtchett A victim is carried to an ambulance as a priest waves a bloodsoaked white handkerchief on 'Bloody Sunday' in Derry/Londonderry's Bogside area when paratroopers controversially opened fire on people taking part in a Civil Rights march.
Hugh Gilmore (third left) seen clutching his stomach as he is shot during Bloody Sunday.
St Mary's Church, on the Creggan Estate, during the Requiem Mass for the 13 who died on 'Bloody Sunday' in Londonderry.
Soldiers taking cover behind their sandbagged armoured cars during Bloody Sunday
Paddy Doherty, who was killed on Bloody Sunday.
William McKinney, killed on Bloody Sunday.
Alana Burke who was eighteen when she was run over by an armoured personnel carrier on Bloody Sunday.
Michael Kelly who was killed on Bloody Sunday.
Patrick Doherty who was killed on Bloody Sunday.
Gerard McKinney who was killed on Bloody Sunday.
Gerald Donaghey who was killed on Bloody Sunday.
John Young who was killed on Bloody Sunday.
Kevin McElhinney who was killed on Bloody Sunday.
William McKinney who was killed on Bloody Sunday.
Jim Wray who was killed on Bloody Sunday.
Hugh Gilmore who was killed on Bloody Sunday.
Michael McDaid who was killed on Bloody Sunday.
A mural in the Bogside area of Londonderry depicting a scene from the Bloody Sunday killings
Pictures of the victims of Bloody Sunday held aloft during a march in the Bogside area of Londonderry
The body of Jackie Duddy is carried away, led by the crouched figure of Fr Edward Daly carrying a bloodstained hankerchief, on Bloody Sunday
Mourners line the streets near St Mary's Church to watch the funeral procession of the 13 people who died on Bloody Sunday in 1972
A man receiving attention during the shooting incident in Londonderry, which became known as Bloody Sunday
Changed status: it took many years for killing of Bloody Sunday victims to be deemed unlawful
A man receiving attention during the shooting incident in Derry, which became known as Bloody Sunday
Families of the victims of the Bloody Sunday shootings march from the Bogside to the Guildhall holding photographs of their relatives, to gain a preview of the Saville Report on June 15, 2010
Families of the victims of the Bloody Sunday shootings march from the Bogside to the Guildhall holding photographs of their relatives, to gain a preview of the Saville Report on June 15, 2010
Relatives of those shot dead on Bloody Sunday after the Saville Report was released
Relatives of those shot dead on Bloody Sunday outside the Guildhall in Derry
Relatives of those shot dead on Bloody Sunday after the Saville Report was released
Relatives of those shot dead on Bloody Sunday outside the Guildhall in Londonderry
Families of the victims of the Bloody Sunday shootings march from the Bogside to the Guildhall holding photographs of their relatives, to gain a preview of the Saville Report on June 15, 2010
Families of the victims of the Bloody Sunday shootings march from the Bogside to the Guildhall holding photographs of their relatives, to gain a preview of the Saville Report on June 15, 2010
Relatives of those shot dead on Bloody Sunday wave to crowds after reading a copy of the long-awaited Saville Inquiry report, outside the Guildhall

"But despite the evident frustration felt by many of the families, we do feel that this is a process we have to go with as we have no real alternative."

He added: "Chief Inspector Harrison told us that as far as he is concerned this investigation is going forward and no one has told him to stop.

"We have made it clear that we will resist any attempt to hand this investigation over to any new body set up to deal with legacy issues.

"It has taken too long and we have come too far to want to see this starting all over again by some other body."

Mr Kelly added: "It is five-and-a-half years since the Saville Report, 17 years since the inquiry was set up and, most importantly of all, 43 years since our loved ones were murdered."

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