Titanic Inquiry – Widgery Report into Bloody Sunday Slammed – The Sullivan Brothers at Today in Irish History

April 19: TODAY in Irish History:

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J. Bruce Ismay – Managing Director White Star Line

Snippets of Irish History by Conor Cunneen IrishmanSpeaks

Conor is a Chicago based Motivational Humorous Business Speaker, Author and History buff.

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1912: Titanic Inquiry Opens – FOUR Days after Sinking

J._Bruce_Ismay

J. Bruce Ismay – Managing Director White Star Line

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The excellent Titanic Inquiry Project provides the following rationale for the promptness of the inquiry.

“On Thursday the 18th, the Department of the Navy contacted Senator Smith, advising him that they had intercepted several significant messages sent by J. Bruce Ismay. These telegrams intimated that Ismay was hoping to go directly back to England, along with the crew, without setting foot on American soil. Smith immediately decided to press the issue and arranged a noon meeting at the White House.

During the meeting, Smith asked about the legalities of subpoenaing British citizens. Taft, after checking with Attorney-General George Wickersham, said there was no question so long as they were in the United States.

That afternoon, the first meeting of the investigative subcommittee was held, during which the Ismay messages were discussed. Smith asked which of the other Senators would accompany him to New York to serve subpoenas and interrogate witnesses.”

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READ: Testimony of J. Bruce Ismay

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The Titanic Inquiry Project

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1972: Widgery Report into Bloody Sunday

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Publication of  the Widgery Report into the events of Bloody Sunday brings an avalanche of criticism and incredulity amongst nationalist and independent commentators. 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 finding would later be discredited by the Saville Tribunal and force Prime Minister David Cameron to issue an apology for the events of Bloody Sunday, stating the killings were “unjustified and unjustifiable.” Some of his report bordered on the sycophantic: “”Those accustomed to listening to witnesses could not fail to be impressed by the demeanour of the soldiers of 1 Para. They gave their evidence with confidence and without hesitation or prevarication and withstood a rigorous cross-examination without contradicting themselves or each other.” On the other hand, Saville would write in his report: “In the course of the report we have considered in detail the accounts of the soldiers whose firing caused the casualties, in the light of much other evidence. We have concluded, for the reasons we give, that apart from Private T many of these soldiers have knowingly put forward false accounts in order to seek to justify their firing.”

Widgery’s report violated any remaining trust (which was nominal 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.”

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READ: Events of Bloody Sunday

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READ: The Guardian newspaper provides excellent overview of the Widgery and Saville reports.

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READ:  Widgery Report

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READ: Saville Report

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1997: US Navy commissions The Sullivans

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.

The Five Sullivan Brothers

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Want to learn more about Ireland? See these images and more in the acclaimed For the Love of Being Irish

Irish gift ideas. Best selling Irish booksRonnie Drew and Luke Kelly - Musical Irish Gifts to the worldJoyce Image in For the Love of Being IrishMichael Collins: Image from For the Love of Being Irish

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This history is written by Irish author, business keynote speaker and award winning humorist IrishmanSpeaks – Conor Cunneen. If you spot any inaccuracies or wish to make a comment, please don’t hesitate to contact us via the comment button.

Visit Conor’s YouTube channel IrishmanSpeaks to Laugh and Learn.

Tags: Best Irish Gift, Creative Irish Gift, Unique Irish Gifts, Irish Books, Irish Authors, Today in Irish History TODAY IN IRISH HISTORY (published by IrishmanSpeaks)

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