While on an official visit to China, President McAleese has made the following statement in regard to the publication of the Saville Report,
‘I welcome today’s publication of the Report of the Saville Inquiry into the awful events which occurred in Derry on that fateful Sunday 30th of January 1972.
Thirteen innocent people were shot dead and a similar number wounded, one of whom subsequently died. The injustices perpetrated that day and the suffering they engendered were compounded by the subsequent Widgery Report and led many people at the time to despair of the efficacy of politics or peaceful protest. Bloody Sunday thus became a seminal event in the history of the troubles in Northern Ireland.
In undertaking the Inquiry, Lord Saville committed himself to seeking the truth with fairness, thoroughness and impartiality. The comprehensive scale of his Report is reflective of that mandate and of the importance of Bloody Sunday in the overall narrative of the conflict in Northern Ireland. We can all best honour the memory of those who died by taking the time to read the Report in detail and to reflect carefully on its findings and conclusions.
Since 1992, the British Government has acknowledged that those who were killed were innocent of any allegation of handling arms or explosives, so while the Saville Report was not required to establish that innocence it was needed in the interests of establishing truth and serving justice. Since the Saville Inquiry has found that all the deaths and casualties were unjustified and unjustifiable, the implications of this finding will clearly need to be considered by the appropriate authorities.
For those who survived, for the bereaved and for the people of Derry, today is a deeply sensitive and distressing day, as well as being a poignant time for all those who were victims or lost loved ones in the Troubles. It is also a momentous day for the survivors and families of Bloody Sunday as they have pursued their campaign for justice and truth for over 38 years and have done so with resolute and dignified determination. I fervently hope that, by its publication, the Saville Report will provide them, at long last, with the consolation that the world now knows the awful truth about Bloody Sunday.
I thank Lord Saville, his colleagues and team for their work and commitment over the last 12 years. I also wish to pay tribute to former Prime Minister Blair and the late Secretary of State Mowlam for the decision to establish the Inquiry.’