09 March 2006

Wright inquiry cost £500,000 in a year

Belfast Telegraph

By Deborah McAleese
09 March 2006

The public inquiry into the murder of LVF boss Billy Wright - which has yet to begin - has already cost the Prison Service almost £500,000 in one year.

An average of around £40,000 a month has been paid out by the Prison Service to cover costs preparing for the inquiry, such as legal fees and staffing.

Figures obtained by the Belfast Telegraph from the Prison Service show that the probe, which is not due to begin until autumn, will have cost it an estimated £461,000 this financial year.

The Billy Wright Inquiry is being headed by retired Scottish Judge Lord Randal MacLean.

A High Court challenge has been launched over Secretary of State Peter Hain's decision to convert the inquiry from the Prison (Northern Ireland) Act 1954 to the Inquiries Act 2005.

The Prison Service said it was unable to provide a total estimated cost of the inquiry for NIPS.

Wright (37) was shot dead in the Maze jail by the INLA in 1997.

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