26/05/2010

Saville Inquiry To Report In June

The most expensive such probe ever held is to finally make its report public.

The Bloody Sunday Inquiry by Lord Saville opened at Derry's Guildhall in 1998 and heard evidence from more than 900 people.

It finished hearing evidence in 2004, with the report initially due for publication the following year.

The £200m inquiry was set up to re-examine the events of 30 January 1972 in Londonderry's Bogside.

Thirteen people died after paratroopers opened fire during a civil rights march and another person died of his injuries later.

The Stormont Deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness has welcomed the news that the Saville Report into the deaths on Bloody Sunday is to be published.

The leading Sinn Féin republican said: "I welcome the fact that the British Government have now announced that the Saville Report will be given to the families and published on June 15th.

"What happened when the British Parachute Regiment came to Derry needs to be told," he said this morning.

It has emerged that, on the morning of publication, relatives and their legal teams will assemble at the Guildhall, Londonderry to study the report before it is handed over in Westminster.

There will also be a debate in the Commons on the report in the autumn.

The deadly events that Sunday were closely followed by a massive 'revenge' bombing in Belfast by the IRA - known as Bloody Friday.

In just 75 minutes of violence, nine people were blown to pieces and some 130 more were mutilated, injured and mentally scarred by what they had witnessed.

It was widely recognised as being in direct retaliation for the Bloody Sunday shootings which have since been the subject of this long-drawn out, multi-million pound probe - while none has been mooted for Bloody Friday or any other such IRA atrocities.

The long-anticipated news came earlier today when the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Owen Paterson told Westminster: "I am pleased to inform the House that the report of the Bloody Sunday Inquiry, chaired by Lord Saville, will be published on Tuesday 15 June.

"I know that publication of this report has been long-awaited by many people, and I am determined to ensure that the arrangements for publication are fair to all those involved.

"The Prime Minister will make a statement to this House at the time when the report is published and I confirm that I will allow an opportunity for members of the families of those who died or were injured on the day, and for the soldiers most directly involved, to see the report privately and be briefed by their lawyers on it, some hours before the report is published.

"Some Members of this House will similarly have an opportunity to see the report in advance of publication, to enable them to respond to the statement made to this House at the time of publication.

"In addition, there will be a full day's debate on the report of the Inquiry in the autumn," he said.

See: Bloody Sunday Report Delayed

(BMcC/GK)

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