Irish church leaders welcome Bloody Sunday inquiry verdict

By staff writers
21 Jun 2010

The Catholic Bishops of Ireland are among a whole range of church and community leaders on both sides of the border who have welcomed the outcome of the Savile Enquiry.

At the Irish Episcopal Conference in Maynooth this weekend, the bishops prayed for those who lost their lives and were injured in Derry on Bloody Sunday, 30 January 1972. They also issued a joint statement.

The Catholic bishops declared: "We welcome the findings of The Report of the Bloody Sunday Inquiry and we share the joy and relief of the families of those killed and injured on Bloody Sunday. We acknowledge the hurt and pain of the many people who lost loved ones on these islands during the course of the Troubles. We continue to carry them all in our thoughts and prayers."

They continued: "We acknowledge the witness of Bishop Edward Daly, and the many clergy, whose part in Bloody Sunday and its aftermath is deservedly recognised. We salute also all the politicians who have contributed in leadership roles and to the building of a solid peace.

"We acknowledge the pastoral leadership shown by the representatives of the other Christian Churches as demonstrated by their visit to Derry today. Finally, we call on all those who are still committed to violence to recognise the futility of this approach and we plead with them to turn to a constructive political path to achieve their goals."

In a separate statement, Seamus Hegarty, Bishop of Derry, declared: "I welcome the .. unequivocal and strong language used in [the report] to confirm the innocence of the victims who were shot, both killed and injured, by the British army in Derry on 30 January 1972."

He added: "It was immensely moving to watch the relatives of the Bloody Sunday victims respond to the Report today. I was struck by their sheer dignity and their palpable relief that the long wait was now over. Two key words came across again and again: 'innocence and justice.' May God bless the relatives and friends of the victims. [This] is their day and it is a very significant day for the people of Derry.

The Catholic leader in the area that some Protestants still call Londonderry went on: "I warmly welcome the supportive comments today by Bishop Ken Good, Church of Ireland Bishop of Derry and Raphoe."

Bishop Good described his "hope is that in these pivotal days we will listen carefully to one another as well as paying careful attention to the findings of the Saville Report."

"Above all," the Bishop of Derry added, "I hope and pray that those who suffered due to the taking and damaging of human life on Bloody Sunday may now begin to find some peace."

[Ekk/3]

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