Major Players of Bloody Sunday

British Parachute Regiment: Also known as paratroopers; the British soldiers present at Bloody Sunday who killed fourteen people.[1] 

Bernadette Devlin: Youngest member of Parliament in 1969 and a passionate orator, as shown when she made her maiden speech, a first speech given by newly elected members of Parliament, without looking at any of her prepared notes; present at Bloody Sunday.[2]   

Brian Faulkner: Northern Ireland Prime Minister from 1971 to 1972.[3]

Irish Republican Army (IRA): Formed in 1916 and followed their own rules of violence, murder and destruction of property in retaliation; taught defense techniques, like bombmaking and the use of firearms; by 1969, the IRA had become less violent and Southerners dominated the group, becoming focused on a socialist alternative to the political status quo; this decision created a rift concerning the use of violence, with the group splitting into “Provisional” and “Official” in December 1969; the Provisional group, known as Provos, could now focus on their main priority of the ‘armed struggle’ against the British in Ireland; a power struggle occurred between the Provisional and Official IRA with the Provos winning and the Official IRA declaring a ceasefire in 1972.[4]

Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association (NICRA): Formed in 1967 to create a civil rights movement in Northern Ireland; accused by unionists of being a front for the Irish Republican Army (IRA).[5]

Reginald Maudling: British Home Secretary in 1972.[6]

Martin McGuinness: Commanding officer of the Provisional Irish Republican Army (Provos) at Bloody Sunday; accused of firing the first shot at Bloody Sunday; in 2000, he was a Member of Parliament.[7]

Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC): British police force in Northern Ireland; under the Special Powers Act of 1922, as long as they claimed to be protecting public order, they had immunity for their actions, including when they used violence; present at October 5, 1968 civil rights march which has become known as the day that the Troubles began; old RUC intelligence served as the basis for targets of internment.[8]

Lord Saville: A Law Lord of Newdigate who led the Saville Inquiry from 1998-2010.[9] 

Stormont government: Stormont Castle in Northern Ireland where the Northern Ireland Parliament met.[10]

Lord Widgery: Lord Chief Justice who led the Widgery Tribunal in 1972.[11]


[1] Tim Pat Coogan, The Troubles: Ireland’s Ordeal 1966-1996 and the Search for Peace (Boulder: Roberts Rinehart Publishers, 1996), 136 and Feargal Cochrane, Northern Ireland: The Reluctant Peace (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2013), 63.

[2] Cochrane, Northern Ireland: The Reluctant Peace, 42, Douglas Murray, Bloody Sunday: Truths, Lies and the Saville Inquiry (London: Biteback Publishing, 2011), 78, Bernadette Devlin, The Price of My Soul (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1969), 192; 223 and BBC, "Bernadette Devlin attacks British Home Secretary," last modified January 27, 2012, accessed November 20, 2017, http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p00nm166.

[3] Coogan, The Troubles: Ireland’s Ordeal 1966-1996 and the Search for Peace, 120 and David McKittrick and David McVea, Making Sense of the Troubles (Belfast: Blackstaff Press Limited, 2001), 82.

[4] Coogan, The Troubles: Ireland’s Ordeal 1966-1996 and the Search for Peace, 20; 94 and Cochrane, Northern Ireland: The Reluctant Peace, 52-3.

[5] Coogan, The Troubles: Ireland’s Ordeal 1966-1996 and the Search for Peace, 56-7 and Cochrane, Northern Ireland: The Reluctant Peace, 46.

[6] Cochrane, Northern Ireland: The Reluctant Peace, 20; 42.

[7] Murray, Bloody Sunday: Truths, Lies and the Saville Inquiry, 167; 169.

[8] Cochrane, Northern Ireland: The Reluctant Peace, 33-4; 47; 61.

[9] Murray, Bloody Sunday: Truths, Lies and the Saville Inquiry, 55; 58; 301.

[10] Cochrane, Northern Ireland: The Reluctant Peace, 13.

[11] Murray, Bloody Sunday: Truths, Lies and the Saville Inquiry, 42-3.