07 Oct 2022

Bloody Sunday decision: A timeline of major events in relation to Bloody Sunday

Bloody Sunday 2
In a week's time, the Public Prosecution Service will announce their decision on whether soldiers will face charges in relation to their actions on Bloody Sunday in Derry on January 30,1972. Here is a list of the major events in relation to case in the past 47 years.

January 30, 1972: Soldiers of the Parachute Regiment open fire on demonstrators at a civil rights march in Derry. Some 13 men died that day. A 14th man was wounded, and subsequently died of his wounds.

February 1, 1972: Prime Minister Edward Heath appoints Lord Chief Justice Lord Widgery to produce a report into the events of what became known as Bloody Sunday.

February 22, 1972: The Official IRA plant a bomb at an Army barracks in Aldershot, where the Parachute Regiment was headquartered. Seven people are killed in the explosion.

March 24, 1972: The Parliament of Northern Ireland is prorogued and direct rule from London introduced.

April 18, 1972: Lord Widgery produces his report: Called Report of the Tribunal appointed to inquire into the events on Sunday, 30th January 1972, it is described in Derry as the "Widgery Whitewash".

January 1, 1973: Colonel Derek Wilford, who was in command of the Parachute Regiment soldiers on Bloody Sunday, is awarded the OBE in the New Year Honours List.

December 29, 1992: Prime Minister John Major tells SDLP leader John Hume: "The Government made clear in 1974 that those who were killed on Bloody Sunday should be regarded as innocent of any allegation that they were shot whilst handling firearms or explosives. I hope that the families of those who died will accept that assurance."

January 23, 1998: Bertie Ahern, then Taoiseach, lays a wreath at the Bloody Sunday memorial in the Bogside during a visit to Derry. He calls for a full independent inquiry into the events of 'Bloody Sunday'.

January 29, 1998: Labour Prime Minister Tony Blair, announces that there will be a new inquiry into the events of Bloody Sunday, following years of pressure from relatives of the people shot dead by the Parachute Regiment.

April 3, 1998: The Saville Inquiry into Bloody Sunday begins its probe. It lasts 12 years and cost in the region of £200 million.

June 15, 2010: The final report of the Saville Inquiry is published. Among its findings it stated: "We found no instances where it appeared to us that soldiers either were or might have been justified in firing."

Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron apologised on behalf of the Government for the events of 30 January 1972, describing the soldiers' actions as "both unjustified and unjustifiable".

July 2012: The PSNI launches a murder probe into the deaths of the Bloody Sunday victims. The probe will last for four years and involves 30 detectives.

November 2016: The PSNI passes a file to the Public Prosecution Service. It must decide whether or not to prosecute any of the Parachute Regiment soldiers for their actions on Bloody Sunday.

September 2018: Legal actions for compensation by families of Bloody Sunday victims begin in Belfast High Court.

February 2019: The Public Prosecution Service says it will make public on March 14 its decision on whether to prosecute any of the Bloody Sunday soldiers.

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