The Bloody Sunday Inquiry into the death of fourteen people in 1972 opens in Derry.

After twenty-six years of campaigning, the inquiry has now opened in Derry under Chairman Lord Saville and judges Mr Justice William Hoyt from Canada and Sir Edward Somers from New Zealand.

Relatives of the victims walked the route from the Bogside to the Guildhall.  They believe the original Widgery Inquiry which exonerated the actions of the paratroopers was flawed and have since been campaigning for a fresh inquiry.

The task facing the new inquiry is to establish how and why fourteen unarmed civilians were shot dead by the British army on 30 January 1972.

An event which has fuelled nationalist anger for a generation.

In his opening address, Justice Hoyt stated, 

It would be foolish of us to ignore the fact that there are allegations that some of those concerned in the events of Bloody Sunday were guilty of very serious offences including murder.

The inquiry has the power to compel witnesses to attend. However, immunity from prosecution has not been ruled out which has angered campaigners who believe that justice needs to be served. 

The inquiry has been adjourned to reopen in the Guildhall in the autumn. 

It will sit four days a week and hundreds of witnesses are expected to give evidence.
 

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 3 April 1998. The reporter is Michael O'Kane.