28 January 2010 Edition

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Bloody Sunday remembered in English Midlands

Cahil McElhinney

Cahil McElhinney

The Troops Out Movement, which campaigns for British withdrawal from Ireland, held its annual Bloody Sunday Remembered meetings in the Midlands last week. The 1992 BBC film by Peter Taylor was shown and the main speaker was Cahil McElhinney, whose brother Kevin was shot dead by British soldiers on Bloody Sunday, 30 January 1972.
The film shows the horrific reality of what happened on the day of the massacre; the lengths the army went to trying to cover up their atrocities; the stunned disbelief of the people of Derry, out on a fine day to protest about Internment; and the shock and disbelief of the relatives who lost their loved ones. It shows the outrageous arrogance of senior army officers refusing to admit they did anything wrong and the honesty of one sergeant major, seriously critical of the army actions and attitudes.
It also exposed the original Widgery Tribunal for the pack of lies it was.
Interestingly in the film  Colonel Derek Wilford refers to “normal operations of war”, “act of war” and “.....  end the war in Ireland”.
“When did the British government admit that they were at war in the Six Counties?” asked Cahil. “The army spokesman exposed the British lie of its motivation for being in Ireland. It certainly wasn’t peacekeeping, as the British people were told.”
Cahil talked about the Saville Inquiry and the relatives’ frustration at the lack of progress with publication of the report. It is over five years since the end of the Inquiry. The relatives have been told that the report is at the printers and has to be proof read three times. They have been told that it should be released in March, but of course, if the British prime minister announces the date of the General Election, it will then be shelved and the Tories have said that they will bury the report as it has cost far too much already.
“The high cost of the Saville Inquiry is because the British authorities told lies in the first place,” said Cahil. “Lies and cover ups is what has cost millions; truth costs nothing.”
He spoke of the army’s destruction of the rifles used on Bloody Sunday, just days before the Inquiry started. No one has been charged with perverting the cause of justice.
Cahil also recalled the Ballymurphy Massacre when eleven people were shot dead during the first three days of internment in  August 1971.
“If the British authorities had dealt with this atrocity, by the same soldiers who went on to commit the murders in Derry, maybe Bloody Sunday would never have happened,” he said.
Cahill was also a guest speaker at the Annual General Meeting of Wolverhampton Trade Union Council (TUC), where he was very well received. Mary Pearson of the Troops Out Movement had spoken on the Saville Inquiry at Birmingham TUC the previous week.

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