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29 March 2001 Edition

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Bloody Sunday Inquiry hears of IRA plan to stay away from march

On the 100th day of the Bloody Sunday inquiry, Hugh McMonagle, a senior member of the Shantallow Branch of the Civil Rights Association, revealed that an IRA activist told him the IRA would not be present during the Bloody Sunday march on 30 January 1972 but that all IRA units would be staying in Creggan. McMonagle gave evidence to the inquiry on Wednesday, 28 March.

In a further development, McMonagle informed the Inquiry of the identity of the alleged IRA man he spoke to when he wrote a man's name on a piece of paper which was handed to Lord Saville; the first time the identity of an IRA man has been given to the Inquiry.

On Tuesday, 27 March, Peter Hutton, ten years of age on Bloody Sunday, told the Inquiry that a British soldier tried to kill him as he watched from the balcony of Rossville Flats as the events of the day unfolded.

Hutton said he was watching from the first floor balcony of the flats when he saw people running into the courtyard of the flats. A British soldier was chasing after the crowd and firing as he went.

Hutton says he heard two or three shots fired. Hutton says the British soldier then turned his rifle in his direction and that he then heard the railings that he was leaning on make ``an almighty din'' and that they were reverberating and ringing. Afterwards, when he returned to the railings, there was an indentation in them just inches from where he had been standing.

Last week, the inquiry heard from first aid worker Antoinette Coyle, that British paratroopers laughed and jeered when her first aid colleague Alice Long asked them to call an ambulance for the bodies of three victims and some wounded people. The British soldiers shouted `hip, hip, hooray' said Coyle.

And in one of the most bizarre moments of the inquiry so far, a tape recording of an incident in which paratroopers fired into a flat in the Rossville Flats complex and tried to kill photographer Fulvio Grimaldi was played.

At the end of the tape, an advertisement urging people to join the British Army could be heard on the TV that was on in the background.

The tape was played during the evidence of John McCrudden, 12 on Bloody Sunday and in whose home the recording was made. According to the tape, made by Grimaldi's assistant Susan North, Mrs McCrudden was shouting at the photographer that it was his fault the house was targeted because he had gone to the window to take photos. John McCrudden gave evidence that four or maybe five shots had been fired into the flat and that they caused damage to the walls, ceilings, curtains and furniture.

McCrudden also told how he saw three young men shot down in the car park behind Glenfada Park as they ran for safety.

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