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Bloody Sunday

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Bloody Sunday

Bloody Sunday took place on Sunday, January 30th 1972. It took place in Derry, Northern Ireland. Catholic marchers were illegally marching against the act of internment, which is when people are arrested for being a member suspected of Para military type movement. The Protestants at the time had the power over the Catholics and this lead to fights between religions. Ted Heath the conservative prime minister of the time sent in British troops to keep the peace, this lead to more fighting, rioting and more deaths on both sides. Some say that the British where out for revenge, then whilst on a peace march a group of catholic marchers broke off and started throwing stones and causing trouble. At this point the truth becomes blurry because of bias accounts, and no media accounts. Supposedly British soldiers opened fire on innocent marchers killing 14 and further injuring another 13. The second accounts says that the marchers where armed and therefore it was their responsibility. The Catholics believe that the catholic marchers where innocent and the soldiers shot in cold blood. Where as the Protestants feel that the British soldiers where innocent and the Catholics were armed. This is why it’s so hard to find the truth.    

After bloody Sunday an enquiry was put forward to come to the truth and to find out exactly what happened. This was named the Widgery enquiry. It lasted 3 months including 2 months of investigation. This alone insulted the Catholics because the whole enquiry was short, too short to investigate 14 deaths. Also it was immediately after the incident which again offended them because there wasn’t time to grieve properly. Also the fact that the trial was put together by the British lord chief justice, this was an insult because he would be in favour of the soldiers. The whole trial was unfair because only soldiers where interviewed, this meant that the Catholics didn’t get a chance to explain their side of the argument. The trial came to the conclusion that the marchers might have been carrying weapons. This lead to more hate from the Catholics and a rise in the number of IRA members.    

Then in 1998 a second was set up, this time it was called the Saville enquiry. This was set up by Tony Blair, this was because he was a labour prime minister therefore if the enquiry blamed the soldiers he couldn’t get blamed. Then if the soldiers where found guilty, it would be conservatives fault, this allowed Tony Blair to stay as a neutral party. The Saville report had 8 yrs of investigations run by lord Saville. The report interviewed over 1500 people including soldiers, Protestants, Catholics, civilians and IRA members. The leaders and members of the Saville enquiry were from Australia and New Zealand. This allowed the report to be fair because opinions couldn’t get involved or count because they weren’t affected. The report is still on going and a conclusion hasn’t been made yet.      

Source A was an article written on Friday 17th September 1999 for the Daily Mail. It was written to counter balance some leaked evidence against the British soldiers. This meant that the paper had tried to defend the soldiers; it did this by showing how bad the soldiers had been treated during the enquiry. The reason for this is because the Daily Mail is a conservative paper; therefore it would want to defend the soldiers. The Para’s themselves are angry because it might swing peoples view and opinions on the matter. The leak was met by happy nationalists, Catholics and the families of the dead. The problem with the source is time, because people would have forgotten what happened and some key details from the actual event over 20 yrs ago. Another problem with this source is that it will be bias towards the soldiers by backing there side of the story because of the conservative control over the paper. The Audience of the piece would be the general readers of the paper, this is important because a person only tends to read one paper and if they read only one then they tend to believe it. This means that Daily Mail readers would back the soldiers.

Source B was written again on the same day as source A, but this source is about the other side to the leaked evidence. This source shows us how innocent and defenceless the Catholics where. The author of this piece is a Mr John Mullin’s an Irish correspondent for the guardian. This means that he’s influenced by the Irish views because of his location. This cloud make him bias ether way depending on who he backs and who he talks to. If he only interviewed Catholics then he would back them and write about their innocence. Where as if he only spoke to Protestants, then he would write about how innocent the soldiers were. Also because it’s a labour paper he has more freedom to publish what he wants including proof or facts, but this could lead him to side with the Catholics. The Audience of the piece would be the general readers of the paper, this is important again, because a person only tends to read one paper. This means that the Guardian readers would back the Catholics. The purpose of the piece would have been to show how innocent the Catholics where and to show the reader, how savage the soldiers had been against the Catholic marchers.

Source C was an ITN news report on the 28th November, it was a witness report from a man who claims he was told by off duty officers that they where going to clear the bog, and from this he understood they would be going to Ireland soon. This could mean that they where going to remove barricades in the Bogside an area of Ireland. Or they where going to clear the marchers from the Bogside. Considering the man the man told news teams 28yrs ago, his memories might have become blurred and parts missed out. This report shows us that the 1500 witness statements are subject to interpretation. This source is much better as evidence because it doesn’t have a clear motive, in the way it isn’t extremely bias to either side.

I am now going to conclude my ideas and rate the source in order and of how useful each source was. I feel that the best source is “C” because it doesn’t take a clear side; it’s mainly in between Catholics vs. Protestants. However we must remember because the event happened over 30yrs ago and now people are being asked their account. This leads to memory loss and some parts being forgotten all together which causes sides taking place.

Sources A and B a\re both biased sources. Source A has a strong more ruthless view point, and has more to prove on the whole. This means that it’s the least reliable.

From these sources it is extremely difficult to find the truth. Firstly opinion gets in the way because the truth is changed depending on the side of the person. Also bias has an affect because people change truth to make others look bad or right. People use loaded to words to emphasis a point and to create an angle on ideas and views. This causes fact and truth to become blurred and sometimes truth and fact are discarded as opinions.

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Northern Ireland 1965-85 section.

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