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Bloody Sunday probe may subpoena political bigs

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Chris Thornton

BELFAST — The North’s education minister, Martin McGuinness, Democratic Unionist Party Leader the Rev. Ian Paisley, Ulster Unionist Party Deputy Leader John Taylor and former nationalist member of parliament Bernadette McAliskey were all cited this week for failing to cooperate with the Bloody Sunday Inquiry.

Inquiry chairman Lord Saville told a hearing in Derry that Paisley and McAliskey could be subpoen’d to give evidence about the circumstances around the 1972 civil rights march in the city that ended with British soldiers killing 13 civilians, mortally wounding another and injuring dozens.

Edwin Glasgow, QC, appearing for 440 soldiers, later told the inquiry that McGuinness "has neither the courage nor the integrity nor the respect for this tribunal to cooperate with this inquiry, which he personally pressed for, and which he was at pains to be seen in company with on the very day that it opened."

Earlier this year, the inquiry was told that a British Army informer claimed 10 years after the shooting that McGuinness was an IRA sniper who sparked the shootings by opening fire on the army. McGuinness rejected the claim and said he would testify.

Taylor has been called on to cooperate because he was the Northern Ireland minister for home affairs at the time of the shootings, and chaired a security meeting three days beforehand. McGuinness has said publicly that he intends to assist the inquiry but a lawyer for the British Army said this week that he still refused to give a statement.

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The question of political cooperation emerged when lawyer Declan Morgan, QC, acting for two of the men wounded in the shootings, raised the issue of evidence from "certain critical politicians."

Lord Saville said: "Mr. Paisley has been approached by us. He has declined to assist and the question will arise in due course as to whether the evidence he might give is so important that if he continues to decline he should be subpoen’d to appear."

The inquiry began in 1998 and started public hearing in March of this year.

The three-judge tribunal is still hearing opening statements from lawyers and has yet to call a witness.

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