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Thursday, 23 November, 2000, 13:54 GMT
Inquiry may order Paisley to appear
British soldiers opened fire on Bloody Sunday
British soldiers opened fire on Bloody Sunday
The Democratic Unionist Party leader Ian Paisley could be subpoenaed to appear before the Bloody Sunday inquiry.

The inquiry is investigating the circumstances surrounding the shooting dead of 13 civilians during a civil rights march in January 1972 in Londonderry. A 14th person died later.

The chairman of the inquiry, Lord Saville, said the tribunal may have to consider whether Mr Paisley should be subpoenaed to appear before it.

Lord Saville: Heading inquiry
Lord Saville: Heading inquiry
On Thursday, Lord Saville said that Mr Paisley had been approached by the tribunal and had declined to assist it.

He said if he continued to decline the question would arise as to whether he should be subpoenaed.

Earlier this year, the inquiry heard about plans by the Democratic Unionist Association in Derry to hold a rally in Guildhall Square at the same time as the civil rights march in the Bogside.

However, that rally was called off and it is understood the inquiry wants to find out why that decision was made.

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 subpoenaed to appear."

The hearing in the Guildhall in Derry was told on Wednesday that attempts to contact the Ulster Unionist deputy leader and Strangford MP John Taylor had also so far been unsuccessful.

Ian Paisley:
Ian Paisley: Could be subpoenaed to appear
Mr Taylor was minister of state in the Ministry of Home Affairs in the old Stormont government at the time of Bloody Sunday and chaired a high-level security meeting three days before the killings in Derry on 30 January 1972.

The subject emerged again on Thursday as lawyer Declan Morgan QC, acting for two of the men wounded that day, raised the issue of evidence from "certain critical politicians".

Earlier this year, it emerged that the inquiry had been unable to obtain a statement from Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness - although he has said elsewhere that he is willing to testify.

Bernadette McAliskey, the Mid-Ulster MP in 1972, has also failed to assist the tribunal.

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See also:

22 Nov 00 | Northern Ireland
Bloody Sunday 'planned' claim
20 Nov 00 | Northern Ireland
Inquiry hears murder claim
05 Sep 00 | Northern Ireland
New Bloody Sunday judge named
14 Nov 00 | Northern Ireland
Inquiry hears of 'killing policy' claim
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