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EDITIONS
Tuesday, 19 November, 2002, 17:52 GMT
Brigadier recalls shootings
Bloody Sunday Tribunal
Military witnesses are giving evidence in London
The soldier in charge of the Army's operation on Bloody Sunday has told the Saville Inquiry he would not have supported the shooting of some rioters.

Brigadier Pat MacLellan said the idea of shooting a 15-year-old boy for throwing stones would not have helped the Army politically or militarily.

Brigadier MacLellan also said while he gave the order for the Parachute Regiment to move into the Bogside in Londonderry, the tactics on the day were left to their commander, Colonel Derek Wilford.


You may anticipate what you think may happen but you have no idea how the other side will react

Brigadier Pat MacLellan

The Bloody Sunday Inquiry is investigating the events of 30 January 1972 when paratroops opened fire on civilians at a civil rights march in the Bogside in Derry.

The inquiry is currently sitting in London.

Last week, the British Army's most senior officer present on Bloody Sunday - General Sir Robert Ford - said Prime Minister Tony Blair "jumped the gun" when he said the civilians shot were innocent.

During his evidence to the tribunal on Tuesday, Major General MacLellan said General Ford's proposed operation to arrest 300 to 400 rioters if there was trouble, had not been conducted before in Londonderry "in my time".

He said he approved 1 Para as the arrest force.

"As far as I was concerned they were an experienced, good battalion who had been operating in Belfast, I think for some 20 months and were highly thought of by the general, so it was okay by me," he said.

Commanding Officer

He said Colonel Wilford was in charge of the mechanics of the operation.

"You may anticipate what you think may happen but you have no idea how the other side will react," he said.

"So really when it comes to the tactics employed, it was very much up to the Commanding Officer, because he was able to see the ground, see where the hooligans were and be flexible."

Major General MacLellan's evidence was adjourned until Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the House of Lords heard on Tuesday that the cost of the inquiry could rise to 155m.

However, Lords Leader Lord Williams of Mostyn resisted Tory pressure to halt it.
Inquiry chairman Lord Saville
Lord Saville is heading up inquiry

He told peers: "The inquiry has indicated that, on current plans, it expects to report during 2004.

"Up to the end of October 2002, the total cost of the inquiry to the government was 93 million. It is estimated that the final cost will be 155 million, subject to the outcome of the judicial reviews of decisions on lawyers' fees."

The Saville Inquiry was set up by Prime Minister Tony Blair to reinvestigate the evidence because the relatives felt the first inquiry was a whitewash.

Lord Saville and the Commonwealth judges who comprise the inquiry, are not expected to report back until 2004.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC NI's Paul McCauley:
"The brigadier is viewed by many as the most important witness so far"
Find out more about the Bloody Sunday Inquiry


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See also:

12 Nov 02 | N Ireland
04 Nov 02 | N Ireland
30 Oct 02 | N Ireland
29 Oct 02 | N Ireland
21 Oct 02 | N Ireland
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