11 May 2006

Inquiry report ‘not until 2007’

Daily Ireland

Bloody Sunday families ‘kept in the dark’

by Eamonn Houston

The final report of the Bloody Sunday inquiry will not be published until next year, the families of those killed said last night.
This would mean a delay of two-and-a-half years after the ending of the seven-year probe.
A spokesperson for the inquiry would not be drawn on speculation about the publication of the findings.
“We have nothing further to add,” the spokesperson said.
Families yesterday issued a statement claiming that they had been kept in the dark by the tribunal.
The inquiry was announced by British prime minister Tony Blair in the House of Commons on January 29, 1998.
The opening statement was made by Lord Saville of Newdigate on April 3, 1999. Marathon oral hearings began on March 27, 2000.
The families of the 14 people who died as a result of the Parachute Regiment’s operation on January 30, 1972, say the inquiry has brushed off their requests for an idea of the timetable for the final report’s publication.
They claim that sources outside the inquiry and from within the British and Irish governments have indicated the report will not be published until next January.
The families’ statement added: “Over the last few months, the families have made direct approaches to the inquiry team and only received the reply that, due to the immense amount of material to be considered, it was impossible for them to give a date as to when the report would be completed.”
The response given to the Bloody Sunday Trust was of a similar nature but stated that the families would be given “substantial notice” as to its completion.
SDLP leader Mark Durkan, the Foyle MP, tabled a parliamentary question in Westminster and got a similar reply.
The relatives said: “The Irish government informed the families at the end of last week that, when secretary of state for Northern Ireland Peter Hain was asked about the report, his response was that it will not be completed until early 2007.”
John Kelly, whose brother Michael was killed on Bloody Sunday, said: “This situation, where no one has the decency to speak to the families directly and give them a clear answer on when the report will be released, is totally unacceptable.
“Even though the families have waited for 34 years for the truth to be told and certainly will wait another few months, what we demand of the inquiry team and the British government is that they have the basic courtesy to update the families as to where the report sits and stop keeping the families in the dark.”
The Bloody Sunday inquiry interviewed and received statements from around 2,500 people. Of those, 921 were called to give evidence.
There were 245 military witnesses called. Most of those gave their evidence at Central Hall in Westminster, London.

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