Prominent Ulster Unionist Lord Kilclooney said today that responsibility for security in Northern Ireland was ‘‘slipping away’’ from Belfast to Westminster at the time of Bloody Sunday.
The peer, formerly known as UUP MP John Taylor, was telling the Saville Inquiry about his role as a minister in the old Northern Ireland government in the run up to the January 1972 atrocity when British troops shot dead 13 unarmed civilians in Derry.
As a junior Home Affairs Minister Lord Kilclooney sat on the Joint Security Committee (JSC) alongside the North’s Prime Minister Brian Faulkner and top-ranking police and military personnel.
But in his statement to the tribunal the former UUP deputy leader said a meeting of the JSC three days before the shootings had reinforced his concerns.
‘‘Power was slipping away to London,’’ he said.
Although the army was supposed to provide back up to police, in his evidence on day 196 of the inquiry Lord Kilclooney also claimed military chiefs may have withheld vital security information.
He said: ‘‘As a minister, I often felt that I was not getting the full story from the army, and there were times when I suspected that the army were not giving the RUC the full picture.’’