Belfast Telegraph

Bloody Sunday was 'job well done' says former paratrooper - Sinn Fein says families 'hurt' by comments

A former paratrooper being investigated by the PSNI for his part in Bloody Sunday has said the army's actions on the day were a "job well done".

He made the comments on a BBC Radio Four documentary on the Troubles, set to air on Tuesday.

Eighteen ex-paratroopers are waiting to learn if they will face prosecution in relation to the events in Londonderry on January 30 1972.

Thirteen people died when paratroopers opened fire on civil rights marchers, with a 14th victim dying later.

The landmark Saville Inquiry concluded in 2010 that all those killed or injured were innocent.

Prime Minister David Cameron issued an official apology in the House of Commons, describing the killings as "unjustified and unjustifiable".

In 2012, the PSNI launched a murder investigation into Bloody Sunday and passed the files to the PPS in 2016.

The police concluded that charges related to Bloody Sunday could be brought against 18 former soldiers.

In addition, action is being considered against two individuals connected with allegations of Official IRA activity that day.

An IRA member told the Saville Inquiry they had fired on soldiers in retaliation for the shooting of two protesters.

One of the soldiers charged told the BBC documentary that "I served my country and I've served that, I think, well for 22 years. Now I'm being told I'm a murderer".

He claimed that the three people he shot at on Bloody Sunday were armed, despite the Saville Inquiry findings.

"Stick me in a jail, for what end? To what end would that help the situation in Northern Ireland?," he said.

Sinn Fein MLA Raymond McCartney said the soldiers comments had caused renewed hurt to the families of victims.

“These comments are offensive and extremely hurtful to the families of those who died on Bloody Sunday,” the Foyle MLA said.

“They also fly in the face of the findings from the Saville Inquiry which clearly demonstrated how the victims had been murdered by the British Army. This was not a job well done. It was a massacre of innocents."

In October 14 Bloody Sunday compensation claims were settled against the Ministry of Defence, with a further £900,000 to be paid out.

In September a judge also awarded Michael Quinn £193,000 for the injuries he received after being shot in the face as a schoolboy.

The subject of soldier prosecutions has long caused outrage among veterans' groups and many unionist politicians who label them a witch-hunt.

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