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UK government will fund any defence if British soldiers charged over Bloody Sunday killings

Fourteen innocent people died on 30 January 1972.

A mural in the Bogside area of Derry depicting Dr Edward Daly as he led injured civil rights protestor Jackie Duddy away from gunfire on Bloody Sunday.
A mural in the Bogside area of Derry depicting Dr Edward Daly as he led injured civil rights protestor Jackie Duddy away from gunfire on Bloody Sunday.
Image: PA Wire/PA Images

THE DECISION ON whether or not to charge British paratroopers over the deaths of innocent protestors on Bloody Sunday will be made on Thursday and the UK government announced today that it will foot the bill for any defence.

The UK’s Ministry of Defence has sent a circular to MPs informing them that the Northern Ireland Public Prosecution Service will announce on Thursday “whether there will be criminal charges in relation to Bloody Sunday”.

The statement from the Ministry of Defence states: “In terms of legal support, veterans are all represented entirely at the Ministry of Defence’s expense. They are represented by independent firms of solicitors, instructed by veterans themselves.”

On 30 January 1972, British soldiers fired into a crowd of unarmed civilians who were taking part in a civil rights march in the bogside in Derry.

In all, 28 people were shot. 13 died while another person succumbed to injuries sustained a number of months later. 

The shootings intensified the armed conflict during the Troubles, leading to a surge in anti-British sentiment in Ireland and boosting recruitment for the IRA.

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