IRA branches argued over guns, inquiry told

The Saville Inquiry today heard claims that members of the Official and Provisional branches of the IRA argued when Officials produced guns in Derry’s Bogside in the aftermath of the Bloody Sunday shootings.

The Saville Inquiry today heard claims that members of the Official and Provisional branches of the IRA argued when Officials produced guns in Derry’s Bogside in the aftermath of the Bloody Sunday shootings.

Witness Peter McGriskin told the hearings in the city’s Guildhall that two cars, each carrying three or four ‘‘stickies’’ - Official IRA men - drew up on the Old Bog Road, just south of the main action that day, got out and took weapons out of the boots of the front vehicle.

‘‘While they were doing this, another group of three or four men, who I would say were Provos approached them,’’ he said.

‘‘They seemed to have an argument with the stickis but I could not hear what was said. The result of the argument was that the stickies got back into their cars with their guns.’’

He said he witnessed the incident about half an hour after the Army shooting stopped and, asked by counsel to the Inquiry, Cathryn McGahey, how he knew the men’s paramilitary credentials, he said it was from street talk.

He said: ‘‘We knew who was who, what was what. You knew if somebody said,

That’s a Provo’. You recognised their faces but I did not know their names. I did not want to know their names either.’’

Mr McGriskin’s sighting was not recorded in a statement taken from him in 1972 and, questioned about it by Edwin Glasgow QC, acting for most of the soldiers, he said: ‘‘My original statement only takes me up to a certain point on the day and I don’t think I was ever asked did I see any Provos, stickies or anyone.

‘‘At the time, there was no way I wanted to mention a thing like that.’’

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