Families welcome Saville Report
Published 26/05/2010 | 16:52
Families of those who died on Bloody Sunday have welcomed the announcement that the long-awaited findings of the public inquiry into the British Army killings will be published next month.
Relatives expressed hope the £190 million Saville Report, the longest and most expensive state funded investigation in British history, will finally deliver the truth about what happened in Londonderry on January 30 1972, when soldiers from the Parachute Regiment opened fire on crowds during a civil rights demonstration resulting in the deaths of 13 people and one man six months later.
John Kelly, whose 17-year-old brother Michael was killed, said family members were delighted the report would be made public on June 15. He said: "At long last we have a date after all the delays.
"It will be a massive day, not only for the families but for the whole of Derry. A lot of people were there that day and lived through it and this is very important to them too."
The Saville Tribunal was ordered by then Prime Minister Tony Blair in 1998 after a long campaign by the families, who claimed the original inquiry into the incident, carried out by then UK Lord Chief Justice Lord Widgery, was a whitewash.
The Widgery Report, which was compiled in the months after the shootings, exonerated the soldiers and speculated that a number of the dead had been either firing at or nailbombing the Army, but these allegations have always been vehemently denied by the relatives and many other eyewitnesses, who insisted the dead were unarmed.
Mr Kelly, 61, said he was confident Lord Saville's findings would include a full declaration of innocence for the dead. He added: "Hopefully it will bring some element of closure, but depends on what he says. Lord Saville holds the future for all of us in what he says in that report."
Northern Ireland Secretary Owen Paterson announced the publication date in a written statement to the House of Commons and confirmed that families of those who were killed and the soldiers themselves would see the report in advance. It is understood their lawyers will gain first sight of the report at 8am on the day, ahead of a 3.30pm publication time.
"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," said Mr Paterson.
Prime Minister David Cameron will make a statement to the Commons as the report is made public.