The Saville Inquiry: An emotional first response

Posted: June 16, 2010 in Media & Journalism, Northern Ireland

The publication today (Tuesday 15 June) of the Saville Inquiry’s report on the events of Bloody Sunday was greeted with much relief and emotion in Derry.  You had to be there when it happened to understand this response. And I was. I was only 9 years old and while I didn’t quite understand the politics of what was happening, I knew something truly awful had happened. I sensed the shock and dismay of my parents  and of the city over the following days – the silence,  the funerals, the whispered forebodings of adults around. I grew up detesting the British paratroops who murdered so many innocent people and I would get angry if anyone cast doubts about that central truth. It was state sponsored murder. That has always been accepted by the majority of Derry people. There is no controversy about it in the city, which explains all the emotion. It’s like we’re saying: about time you’ve come round to ripping up the Widgery Report and accepting what we’ve believed all these 38 years!  And yet it seems that sections of the media, for the sake of spurious “balance”, still insist on looking for the smoking gun and for the tiny  minority in the city and beyond who are quite willing to help them dig for it. I need to work through the coverage and judge it in the round so will  report back on that when I do. But it’s important to say, too, that there’s still good journalism out there. It’s still alive. I’m mindful especially of the work of Derry journalists Eamonn McCann, Don Mullen, Paul McCauley and others and of Channel Four News (Alex Thomson and Lena Ferguson) in helping uncover the vital evidence to bring the  Inquiry about in 1998. Thanks to you all.

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