LONDON — Prime Minister David Cameron of Britain offered an extraordinary apology on Tuesday for the 1972 killings of unarmed demonstrators by British troops in Northern Ireland, saying that a long-awaited investigation had left no doubt that the “Bloody Sunday” shootings were “both unjustified and unjustifiable.”
“On behalf of our country, I am deeply sorry,” Mr. Cameron said in a speech before Parliament. “What happened should never, ever have happened.”
The 5,000-page report is the product of one of the longest and most expensive public inquiries in Britain’s history, but questions remain about whether it will serve to heal or reopen wounds from the violent events on Jan. 30, 1972, in the city of Londonderry, when police officers fired on a civil rights march, killing 14 people.
“It is astonishing to think that when the tribunal, chaired by Lord Saville, began its work in 1998, David Cameron was not even in Parliament,” Paul Bew, a professor at Queen’s University in Belfast, the provincial capital, wrote in The Daily Telegraph. “Now, 38 years after the event itself, Bloody Sunday has come back to haunt another British prime minister.”