05/03/2010

Bloody Sunday Report Imminent

The Northern Ireland Secretary of State has said he hopes to be in a position to publish Lord Saville's report into Bloody Sunday within days of receiving it.

The families had feared that the publication of the 5,000-page report, which took 12 years and cost £200m, could be delayed until the forthcoming general election was over.

But after meeting relatives and the Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, Shaun Woodward reassured them he would attempt to make it available within days of him receiving it at the end of the month.

Shaun Woodward was speaking in Londonderry on Thursday after meeting relatives of the 14 people killed by British soldiers on 30 January 1972.

The relatives of those killed asked Mr Woodward to give them the report at the same time as he receives it.

The report is to go to the Government in the week beginning 22 March.

The relatives had previously criticised Mr Woodward because they had been told they would not get the report until two weeks after they had received it.
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They said they feared it could be amended or have parts withheld, but on Wednesday, Mr Woodward said the report had taken too long to complete.

He was speaking to the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee at Westminster.

Mr Woodward promised he would only take about two weeks to consider the mammoth document but added that nobody knew when Prime Minister Gordon Brown would call the election.

The £200m inquiry was set up in 1998 to re-examine the events of 30 January 1972, when British soldiers shot dead 14 people in Londonderry's Bogside.

Just days ago, a leading politician, Alliance leader, David Ford also met relatives in Derry and acknowledged that comments he made in a leaked email had caused offence.

He said the inquiry was a 'waste of time' and noted: "This comment was taken out of the context of a hastily-written email and is not a full representation of my views," he said.

"I realise that my choice of language was clumsy and inarticulate, and its publication has caused hurt.

"I am very pleased to have been able to meet with some of the families and I have apologised to them for the comment that caused offence."

(BMcC/GK)

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