Belfast Telegraph

ITV apology over Parachute Regiment documentary Northern Ireland screening

Paratroopers in Derry’s Bogside on Bloody Sunday when 14 innocent people were shot dead
Paratroopers in Derry’s Bogside on Bloody Sunday when 14 innocent people were shot dead
Gareth Cross

By Gareth Cross

ITV apologised for any offence caused after screening a Parachute Regiment documentary in Northern Ireland on the eve of the anniversary of the Bloody Sunday killings.

The Paras: Men Of War was broadcast on ITV-owned UTV  on Thursday evening.

The last episode of the three-part series is to air on January 24, just days before the Bloody Sunday anniversary.

Thirteen people died after members of the Parachute Regiment opened fire on civil rights demonstrators in Londonderry on January 30, 1972. A 14th victim died later in hospital.

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".

Foyle MLA Mark H Durkan said the decision to air the documentary in Northern Ireland was "unbelievably insensitive".

"Disgusted and dumbfounded that UTV are showing 'Paras: Men of War', glorifying the Parachute Regiment, on the cusp of the anniversary of Bloody Sunday when the Paras slaughtered 14 innocent people on the streets of Derry," he tweeted.

He called for the airing of the final episode of the documentary to be postponed until a later date.

An ITV spokesperson said that the documentary made no mention of Bloody Sunday and was not connected to other events in Northern Ireland.

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

"The three part series, The Paras: Men of War is an ITV commission, which is being shown on the ITV network, including UTV. The series is entirely contemporary, following young men going through the recruitment course now, charting their progress during the training and beyond," the spokesperson said.

"This series does not examine historical events and makes no mention of Bloody Sunday or other events in Northern Ireland.

"If any viewers were offended by the timing of the series, we apologise.”

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