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What happened on Bloody Sunday?

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Introduction

HISTORY COURSEWORK BLOODY SUNDAY "Sheer unadulterated murder" -MAJOR HUBERT O' NEILL Contents Page Page 3 Introduction and NICRA 4 Internment 5 Parachute regiment and Bogside 6-7 Bloody Sunday 8 Consequences of Bloody Sunday 9-10 Why did it take so long for another inquiry to be set up? 11 Bibliography Q1. What happened on Bloody Sunday? In order to fully understand what took place on Bloody Sunday I feel that we need to examine the events leading up to this contentious event. Bloody Sunday is named after the events that occurred on Sunday 30 January 1972 when British soldiers shot dead 13 men and injured 14 others. A further victim died later. The killings took place in the predominantly nationalist city of Derry. The victims had been taking part in an illegal march against internment without trial. It had been organised by the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association (NICRA) and was both a protest against internment and a protest against the ban on the right to march. NICRA (Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association) The Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association was formed in January 1967 as a response to four decades of Unionist discrimination against Catholics. They were undoubtedly influenced by Martin Luther King's "I have a dream" speech. The organisation protested against the Unionist government's treatment of Catholics. Their demands were simple: * One Man, One Vote * End gerrymandering1 * End discrimination in the allocation of government jobs * Fair allocation of local council houses * End the Special Powers Act2 * Disband the B Specials3 Nationalists obviously supported this movement however some Unionists had different views. ...read more.

Middle

At around 3.45pm, most of the marchers followed the organisers' instructions and turned right into Rossville Street to hold a meeting at 'Free Derry Corner'. However a section of the crowd continued along William Street to the British Army barricade and a riot developed. (Confrontations between the Catholic youth of Derry and the British Army had become a common feature of life in the city and many observers reported that the rioting was not particularly intense.) At approximately 3.55pm, away from the riot and also out of sight of the meeting, soldiers, (believed to be a machine-gun platoon of Paratroopers) in a derelict building in William Street, opened fire (shooting 5 rounds) and injured Damien Donaghy (15) and John Johnston (59). Both were treated for injuries and were taken to hospital (Johnston died on 16 June 1972). It has been suggested that an Official IRA member then fired a single shot in response at the soldiers in the derelict building but there has been no evidence to clarify this. Also around this time (about 3.55pm) as the riot in William Street was breaking up, Paratroopers requested permission to begin an arrest operation. By about 4.05pm most people had moved to 'Free Derry Corner' to attend the meeting. Shortly after 4pm an order was given for a 'sub unit' (Support Company) of the 1st Battalion Parachute Regiment to move into William Street to begin an arrest operation directed at any remaining rioters. The order authorising the arrest operation specifically stated that the soldiers were "not to conduct running battle down Rossville Street". ...read more.

Conclusion

People would start to question their actions in the past and in the present i.e. their presence in Iraq or other countries around the world. The Bloody Sunday Inquiry was announced by the Prime Minister, Tony Blair, in a statement to the House of Commons on 29 January 1998. As cease-fires continued, the peace process was strengthened and Sinn Fein were involved with other parties in round table negotiations. In this atmosphere the British Government felt compelled to start up a new inquiry particularly given the basis for the current inquiry was new evidence that was now available. The weight of new material available was such that the events of 30 January 1972 required re-examination. This is one of the reasons why the Saville Inquiry was arranged. A Channel Four documentary found new evidence for Lord Saville as well as evidence found by the Irish Government. There was also the Irish government's dossier and the book by Dan Mullan "Eyewitness". To conclude I feel that the reason why it took so long for an inquiry to be arranged is because of the fact the British government did not want to admit to carrying out this atrocity. It would humiliate their judicial system as well as their reputation. The only reason why I think that they authorised a new Inquiry to be set up was because of increasing pressure from leaders of the world and the cease-fire of the PIRA. Once the cease-fire was announced they had no reason not to let a new inquiry initiate. ...read more.

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