Doug Beattie: Army operation on Bloody Sunday was ‘an abject failure’ and ‘nothing to be proud of’

Doug Beattie MC MLA. 'Pic by Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Doug Beattie MC MLA. 'Pic by Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
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Ulster Unionist MLA and former soldier Doug Beattie MC has hit out at the suggestion that the army operation in Londonderry on Bloody Sunday was “a job well done.”

Reacting to the controversial claim made by an ex-paratrooper who was serving in the Bogside on the day of the shootings in 1972, Mr Beattie branded the killing of 14 civilians “an abject failure” and “a loss of military discipline.”

With a number of former soldiers expected to find out next week if they will face prosecution for the killings, one ex-para known only as ‘Sergeant O’ told the BBC that the army operation on Bloody Sunday was “a job well done” and maintained that soldiers were returning fire after being shot at first.

He dismissed Lord Saville’s inquiry findings that all the victims were innocent civilians, but acknowledged that “some innocent people were killed.”

His comments were branded “cold and brutal” by relatives of some of those who lost their lives in the incident.

Responding to Sergeant O’s claim, Mr Beattie tweeted: “It was not a job well done. It was an abject failure in planning, flawed command and control, poor leadership & a loss of military discipline.

“Nothing to be proud of. #Legacy”

• Read related story - Ex-para says operation on Bloody Sunday was ‘job well done’, despite ‘some innocent people’ being killed