The people of Londonderry are celebrating today. The Saville inquiry has found that the 13 killings in Londonderry in January, 1972 were wholly unjustified. None of the casualties was a threat to the British forces involved.
I hope this will be closure for these families and that they feel they can move on with their lives, but I understand some want to take legal action against individual soldiers. Whilst I understand the need the killer of their nearest and dearest to prosecuted I wonder what good it will do some 38 years on.
Dare I suggest the families who are joyous today are the lucky ones in the history of the Northern Irish conflict? I admire their tenacity in ensuring the truth was eventually disclosed. However, Martin McGuiness on Channel 4 news disappointed me. He insisted he was present that day and had not carried any weapon that day, yet Lord Saville says he may well have been armed. I'm paraphrasing here but his response was, 'If I was carrying a machine gun then someone would have noticed. You can't hide a machine gun.' But Mr McGuiness, you can ensure that people stay loyal to your cause and refuse to give evidence to the contrary. That's not to say Martin McGuiness did carry arms of course.
Let us not forget this march was illegal yet thousands took part knowing that fact. Sadly, many of the killed were youngsters, innocent youngsters.
Yet I cannot be too pleased today. I remember, before Bloody Sunday (in fact 3 years before), an Army Officer arrived back at his home as usual. He was an officer who never used a gun in this conflict. His job was to ensure good communications between the nationalists and unionists.
He walked up the path to his house, which was in an army compound, after a day's work. His wife, pregnant with their first child, came out to greet him. A few seconds later he was dead, killed by a member of the IRA, and she was badly wounded. Her injuries were to her right arm and shoulder and to this day she is paralysed down her right side. As she grows older she finds it very difficult to cope with normal domestic duties. I won't go on about this because I'm too close to the incident. Her child, a daughter, survived. The IRA claimed responsibility but the killers were never found.
I mention a single incident here but let's not forget the many IRA victims, some who ended up dead with horrific injuries from knee-capping shootings or just from having a bullet put to their heads. Others survived these horrendous shootings yet lived a hellish quality of life.
For Martin McGuiness to welcome the result of the Saville inquiry is all well and good. What about the hundreds he (as deputy IRA leader) killed or maimed? He said many were imprisoned by the RUC but he forgot to mention many assailants were never found.
I do sincerely hope the most expensive inquiry in history brings some form of peace to those connected with the deaths of Bloody Sunday. My thoughts are also with those who, because they were 'on the other side' never had nearly £200m spent on finding their killers.
Peace in Northern Ireland is imperative to the stability of the country. As a Scottish independence supporter you would think I would be all for the Irish nationalists. No. I despise the IRA and their branch groups because they used arms instead of talk.
That's why I think this is just partial closure. My friend, whose daughter is now 40, has never sought a scalp. She accepted her husband belonged to the British army and had a job to do. Which was, if I could remind you, ensuring communications between the two sides. He'd never possessed or held a gun during his time there. That's why I speak about partial closure because many do still wonder, although they have managed to go forward in the lives.