Bloody Sunday to be commemorated with minute's silence

Wednesday, January 30th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

BELFAST, Northern Ireland (AP) _ The clergyman who became the defining image of the day the British army killed 13 Catholic protesters in Londonderry was to help commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Bloody Sunday massacre on Wednesday.

Retired Catholic Bishop Edward Daly was to join relatives of the victims in a minute of silence at 4:15 p.m., the time that British paratroopers opened fire on an illegal 20,000-strong protest march through Londonderry, Northern Ireland's predominantly Catholic and second-largest city.

Daly's hunched figure waving a blood-splattered handkerchief became the image of Jan. 30, 1972 _ the day that became known as Bloody Sunday. Daly became a hero for administering last rites to victims while others still hugged the blood-caked streets in terror.

An inquiry into the killings, being held inside the city's 17th-century Guildhall, will recess Wednesday as a mark of respect. When it resumes Monday, it will begin hearing evidence from Royal Ulster Constabulary officers after more than a year of civilian testimony.

The current inquiry, chaired by an English judge, Lord Saville, is the second into the shootings _ the first, in 1972, was rejected by the bereaved families and injured as biased and inadequate.

Lord Saville's inquiry was established in 1998 and has been seated in public since March 2000. A final report is not expected until 2004.

John Kelly, whose teen-age brother Michael was among 13 men and boys slain, said the families remain determined to achieve truth and justice.

``It is an ongoing issue that will not go away until that has been achieved. Thirty years is a long time,'' said Kelly, 53.

Kelly has already testified about his recollections of the moment when British paratroopers drove through the barricades erected by the IRA and opened fire on fleeing demonstrators.

The IRA responded with an onslaught in Northern Ireland that contributed to 1972's death toll of 496, including 134 soldiers _ by far the bloodiest year of the conflict.

Kelly helps run the Bloody Sunday Trust, a European Union-funded center that provides information to tourists and students, and a place for locals to watch the tribunal's proceedings on television.

The annual Bloody Sunday march, retracing the route of the ill-fated civil rights protest, is expected to draw about 30,000 people on Sunday.