Belfast Telegraph

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

One of the injured is carried down Chamberlain Street in Derry during Bloody Sunday
One of the injured is carried down Chamberlain Street in Derry during Bloody Sunday

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.

St Mary's Church, on the Creggan Estate, during the Requiem Mass for the 13 who died on 'Bloody Sunday' in Londonderry.
St Mary's Church, on the Creggan Estate, during the Requiem Mass for the 13 who died on 'Bloody Sunday' in Londonderry.
30th January 1972: An armed soldier and a protestor on Bloody Sunday when British Paratroopers shot dead 13 civilians on a civil rights march.
A young Fr Edward Daly carries a blood-soaked hankie as he leads a group of men trying desperately to carry John 'Jackie' Duddy to safety. Duddy (17) was the first fatality of Bloody Sunday after being shot from behind by paratroopers
A young Fr Edward Daly (now Bishop Daly) carries a blood-soaked hankie as he leads a group of men trying desperately to carry John 'Jackie' Duddy to safety. Duddy (17) was the first fatality of Bloody Sunday after being shot from behind by paratroopers
Bloody Sunday
A scene showing a British paratrooper near Glenfada Park in Derry where Bloody Sunday took place.
Hugh Gilmore (third left) seen clutching his stomach as he is shot during Bloody Sunday.
Paddy Doherty, who was killed on Bloody Sunday.
William McKinney, killed on Bloody Sunday.
Scenes from 'Bloody Sunday' in Londonderry, Northern Ireland
Lt Col Derek Wilford, the former commander of the members of the Parachute Regiment involved in the Bloody Sunday shootings
A protest parade in was staged in Londonderry in January to mark the 40th anniversary of Bloody Sunday
Hugh Gilmore who was killed on Bloody Sunday.
Michael McDaid who was killed on Bloody Sunday.
:Bloody Sunday.
Soldiers taking cover behind their sandbagged armoured cars during Bloody Sunday
Lord Chief Justice, Lord Widgery in his room at the Old Bailey as he looks through his report on the "Bloody Sunday" shootings
Jim Wray who was killed on Bloody Sunday.
John Young who was killed on Bloody Sunday.
William McKinney who was killed on Bloody Sunday.
Kevin McElhinney who was killed on Bloody Sunday.
Gerard McKinney who was killed on Bloody Sunday.
Gerald Donaghey who was killed on Bloody Sunday.
Alana Burke who was eighteen when she was run over by an armoured personnel carrier on Bloody Sunday.
Bloody Sunday. January 1972
Patrick Doherty who was killed on Bloody Sunday.
Bloody Sunday. Funeral. Mrs Ita McKinney, 9 months pregnant cries behind the hearse carrying her husband James from St Mary's, Creggan. 2/2/1972.
Michael Kelly who was killed on Bloody Sunday.
A man receiving attention during the shooting incident in Londonderry, which became known as Bloody Sunday
Bloody Sunday. 30/1/1972
Bloody Sunday. 30/1/1972
Bloody Sunday. 30/1/1972
JAMES WRAY IN HIS HOME IN THE BOGSIDE DERRY HOLDING THE COAT WITH BULLIET HOLES IN THAT HIS SON ALSO CALLED JAMES WRAY WAS KILLED ON BLOODY SUNDAY
The start of a grim day in Derry. Civil Rights marchers make their way through Creggan. They defied a Government ban and headed for Guildhall Square, but were stopped by the Army in William Street. 31/1/1972
Bloody Sunday 1972
Linda Nash carries flowers with the number 14 inscribed during yesterdays annual Bloody Sunday Parade in Derry. Picture Martin McKeown. Inpresspics.com. 29.1.12
A memorial to those killed on Bloody Sunday in the Bogside area of Derry
The memorial to the 14 people who died on Bloody Sunday in Derry rises from among the sea of umbrellas as all the families came together in an ecumenical service. This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Civil Rights mark.The service included contributions from Father Michael Canny and Reverend David Latimer, left. Picture Martin McKeown. Inpresspics.com. 29.1.12

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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