Saville Report: the lawyers involved

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  • The importance of this report cannot be overestimated, it brings closure for the people of Derry/Londonderry and to the whole of Northern Ireland, to quote the Irish Times "Lord Saville has told the world what the people of Derry (both Catholic and Protestant) have known for 38 years: the victims of Bloody Sunday were innocent, all innocent".
    As a lawyer from the Derry area, who was brought up during the "troubles" and who can remember the havoc and damage Bloody Sunday and the Widgery Report caused to community relations in the city - thirty years of mistrust and segregation - reading the Saville report may be akin to a child learning that Santa is a pedophile, but we knew, or at the very least we we all suspected, the worst - that the Widgery Report was a whitewash and that these innocent protesters were killed by our own troops.
    The fact that many of us, in England and in Northern Ireland, have been in denial for so long must be a source of great shame. However, the people of Derry will be forever indebted to four English lawyers, Lord Saville, a former soldier, Michael Mansfield QC, Mr Justice Clark and to Peter Jones of Eversheds, for their tireless work on this enquiry.
    This enquiry was Derry's answer to Archbishop Tutu's Truth and Reconciliation Commission, it will hopefully bring closure and some comfort to the families of the victims and help help assuage, what the Northern Irish actor, James Nesbitt, has termed, "a collective guilt" over the killings which has long been felt by the Protestants of Northern Ireland.
    I would strongly recommend that all four lawyers mentioned above be formally recognised by the Lawyer at its forthcoming awards evening.

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  • It took too long but nevertheless an important precedent has been set.However I understand the frustration of all of those who lost people during the remainder of "the troubles" and who feel they have been ignored. A semi permanent commission on the lines of Desmond Tutu's Truth and Reconciliation commission would doubtless go some way towards achieving the lasting peace Ireland deserves.

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