The price of denial

Your leader (28 January) states that the only purpose of the Saville inquiry into Bloody Sunday is "to indulge the Irish republican affection for dwelling on past wrongs".

Bloody Sunday and, even more so, the whitewash perpetrated by the Lord Chief Justice Lord Widgery destroyed the civil rights movement and hugely boosted IRA recruitment. The IRA - until then a very small-scale organisation - rapidly expanded its membership and wider support. Even after Bloody Sunday, these consequences were not inevitable had the errors been acknowledged.

Surely, after 30 years, it must be clear that denial has been grossly counter- productive. We can no longer indulge the affection for burying past wrongs.

Professor Brendan McSweeney
University of Essex

This article first appeared in the 04 February 2002 issue of the New Statesman, Revealed: how Labour sees women