April 19: TODAY in Irish History (by IrishmanSpeaks)
1972:Publication of the Widgery Report into the events of Bloody Sunday brings an avalanche of criticism and incredulity amongst nationalist and independent commentators. Widgery’s finding would later be discredited by the Saville Tribunal and Prime Minister David Cameron would apologize for the events of Bloody Sunday, stating the killings were “unjustified and unjustifiable”, but the man who served as the Lord Chief Justice of England from 1971-80 found that British paratroopers were not responsible for the deaths of 13 civilians on the day and that “there would have been no deaths in Londonderry on 30 January if those who organised the illegal march had not thereby created a highly dangerous situation in which a clash between demonstrators and the security forces was almost inevitable.” Despite all evidence to the contrary, Widgery stated “There was no general breakdown in discipline.”
Widgery’s report violated any remaining trust (which was very little at this stage) Irish nationalists had in British justice or impartiality. It provided one more effective recruiting arm for the IRA.
Tony Doherty who was 9 when his father was gunned down states:
” In some respects what actually happened after Bloody Sunday was a more embittering experience than the actual killings. There we were, under the full glare of the world’s media; people saw what happened, and attested before courts and tribunals as to what happened. But the final word was that everybody had got it wrong, the media had got it wrong, the people in the street had got it wrong, the relatives had got it wrong, and the only people who had got it right were the Brits. The most galling aspect of Bloody Sunday for me is the denial of truth.”
The Guardian newspaper provides excellent overview of the Widgery and Saville reports.
1997: US Navy commissions The Sullivans, the second ship to be named after the five Sullivan brothers who perished on the USS Juneau, November 1942 during the Battle of Guadalcanal. The Sullivans were descendants of Irish immigrants.
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