WASHINGTON (February 2, 1998) -- British Prime Minister Tony Blair's decision last week to reopen the investigation into Northern Ireland's "Bloody Sunday" is important to the "process of healing and reconciliation" in Northern Ireland, according to the chairman of the Bishops' International Policy Committee.
Archbishop Theodore E. McCarrick of Newark issued his brief statement following the announcement that the British government would reexamine the events which led to the British Army firing on a peaceful demonstration on January 31, 1972, killing 13 and mortally wounding one more. The text of his statement follows:
"I welcome the decision of Prime Minister Tony Blair to reopen the inquiry into Bloody Sunday. Establishing the full truth regarding this tragic event is important not only to the victims and their families, but to the wider process of healing and reconciliation.
"I pray that this inquiry will not be a source of further sectarian recriminations but will be an impetus for general progress in healing the festering wounds of all those, from both communities, who have suffered from violence and injustice during the conflict.
"I also pray that those few who continue to use political violence will recognize that the new wounds they have opened only delay the day when a just peace can be established in Northern Ireland."