IOL: Ex-IRA man reveals identity at Inquiry

Ex-IRA man reveals identity at Inquiry
13/01/2004 - 10:45:05

A former IRA man giving evidence at the Bloody Sunday Inquiry today dramatically waived his right to anonymity.

William Anderson, 50, who was known to the Saville Inquiry as PIRA 18, decided at the last minute to reveal his identity.

He was one of three former IRA men, two Provos and one member of the Officials to be granted anonymity yesterday on the grounds that their lives could be at risk if they were made public.

Mr Anderson, who gave no reason for asking for his name to be used, told the inquiry that at the time of Bloody Sunday he had been suspended from the Creggan unit of the Provos for stealing and torching a van belonging to the Official IRA.

Despite being suspended, he decided to attend the civil rights march on January 30, 1972 which resulted in the deaths of 13 unarmed civilians at the hands of members of the Parachute Regiment in the Bogside area of Derry.

During the march, he recalled seeing a man with his cheek missing coming towards them as they stood in Blucher Street.

“The people around me in Blucher Street made him lie on the ground. I don’t know who this man is but I have seen photographs of him since,” he said.

The former Provo said he heard that people had been shot during the march and went into the Bogside to try to find his younger brother.

As he ran up an alleyway between Abbey Park and Glenfada Park, he saw the body of one of the dead, Michael Kelly being carried out of a house.

“I knew straight away that he was dead even though he was being carried out out as if he was sitting upright in a chair.”

He went into the house where he saw another young man lying on the floor. He told the inquiry he believed it was the body of Jim Wray, another one of the victims.

Mr Anderson said he made his way to the Rossville Flats area where he saw the body of Hugh Gilmore and that of Barney McGuigan, which was covered with a civil rights banner.

Some time later, he met his IRA section leader.

“He was standing around and had a look of total disbelief. I asked him, ‘what about my suspension?’ I had in mind that we should do something and he should forget about my suspension.

“He simply said to me, ‘see us after the funerals’. I knew then that the suspensions had been lifted and there were now other things to worry about and do,” he added.

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