1970-1979 | Civilians slaughtered | Ireland | Northern Ireland

Fourteen unarmed catholics shot dead by the army

Keith Ruffles – a mural to Bloody Sunday – CC BY 3.0 –
via Wikimedia.

30 January 1972

On 30 January 1972, fourteen Catholics were shot dead by soldiers of the First Battalion of the Parachute Regiment in the Bogside district of Derry in what was the biggest massacre of civilians by British troops within the United Kingdom for over two hundred years. Some of those killed, were shot while either running away or helping the wounded.  Another two were run down by army vehicles.  The bloodbath occurred as locals undertook a civil rights march in violation of a banning order.

The first two investigations set up by the British government found largely in the soldiers’ favour, arguing that they had been forced to shoot after they were targeted by gunmen and bomb throwers.  However, in 2010, the Slater Inquiry, set up twelve years earlier in 1998 to reexamine the incident, concluded that the deaths were both ‘unjustified’ and ‘unjustifiable,’  adding that many soldiers had ‘knowingly put forward false accounts’ to excuse their use of live ammunition against unarmed protesters.1


  1. Richard Norton-Taylor and Owen Bowcott, ‘Bloody Sunday: Prosecutors say soldiers may face perjury charges,’ The Guardian, 16 June 2010, accessed online at url https://www.theguardian.com/uk/2010/jun/16/bloody-sunday-soldiers-military-uk and ‘Many soldiers “knowingly gave false accounts,”‘ The Irish Times, 16 June 2010, accessed online at url https://www.irishtimes.com/news/many-soldiers-knowingly-gave-false-accounts-1.678660

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