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Wednesday, 12 September, 2001, 17:41 GMT 18:41 UK
Witness refuses to name IRA men
Thirteen people died on Bloody Sunday
Thirteen people died in Bloody Sunday shootings
A former priest has told the Bloody Sunday Inquiry he will not reveal the names of people he knew were IRA members at the time of the shootings in Londonderry.

Giving evidence to the tribunal in the city on Wednesday, Denis Bradley said he could not reveal their identities because the information about them came to him in confessions.

The tribunal is trying to establish the truth about what happened on 30 January 1972 when British paratroopers opened fire killing 13 civilians at the civil rights demonstration. Another man died later.

The paratroopers have always maintained they were fired on by IRA members, before they opened fire, however the IRA has denied this.

Speaking in the Guildhall, Denis Bradley said he had spoken to a number of IRA members about Bloody Sunday over the years.

Ceasefire intermediary

Mr Bradley was an intermediary when the August 1994 IRA ceasefire was being negotiated.

However, when he was asked by inquiry counsel Christopher Clarke if he would name the IRA members he had spoken to, he said he could not.

He said: "At that particular time I was a Catholic priest.

"Many people spoke to me about many things; people from the Provisional IRA, people from the Official IRA, people from the British Army, people from the RUC.

"Most of it would have been confidential and I would have considered it confessional and I would not be in a position to actually say what they told me."

Mr Bradley also said that information he had about the army and the Royal Ulster Constabulary about what had happened had also come to him in the confessional.

Appeal to give evidence

However, at the request of inquiry chairman Lord Saville, Mr Bradley, agreed to contact the people he said he knew were in the IRA and urge them to give evidence to the tribunal.

Lord Saville said: "These people who you feel uncomfortable in naming, would you feel uncomfortable in quietly going to them and urging them to come forward voluntarily to the tribunal so that we can, as I think you want us to, find out the whole truth about Bloody Sunday?"

He answered: "I have already done that on a number of occasions but if you are requesting me to do it again, I certainly will do it."

Mr Bradley was a 26-year-old curate on Bloody Sunday but left the priesthood later in the 1970s.

In the early 1990s he acted as an intermediary between the IRA and British intelligence in securing the IRA ceasefire.

Mr Clarke said that if none of those he requested to come forward did so, "the tribunal may have to ask you to come back".

The tribunal wants both soldiers and IRA men to give evidence to the inquiry to establish what the IRA was doing on that day.

Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness has admitted that he was the second in command of the IRA in Derry at the time and has said he will give evidence to the inquiry.

He has already submitted a written statement.

He has denied that he or any other IRA member fired shots at the ar,y before the Bloody Sunday shootings and said he will not name any other IRA members.

Mr Bradley was speaking on the 140th day of inquiry evidence.

The tribunal was established by Prime Minister Tony Blair because relatives of those killed rejected the results of the Widgery inquiry carried out shortly after the incident.

The inquiry, which started hearing evidence in March 2000, is expected to sit for about two years.

See also:

02 Aug 01 | Northern Ireland
Inquiry soldiers must return to NI
21 Aug 01 | Northern Ireland
Inquiry's reserve judge resigns
26 Jun 01 | Northern Ireland
Photographer 'feared for his life'
12 Mar 01 | Northern Ireland
Inquiry hears of 'bad day's work'
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