Bloody Sunday report published next month

Wednesday 26 May 2010 13:13 BST

The long-awaited state report on the Bloody Sunday killings in Londonderry will be published on June 15, the Government announced today.

Lord Saville, who conducted the investigation into one of the most infamous incidents of the Troubles, will make his findings public 12 years after the probe was commissioned by then prime minister Tony Blair.

Thirteen people died on January 30, 1972 when soldiers from the British Parachute Regiment opened fire on crowds during a civil rights demonstration in Derry. Another man who was shot on the day died six months later.

Northern Ireland Secretary Owen Paterson announced the publication date in a written statement to the House of Commons.

He also confirmed that families of those who were killed by the Army and the soldiers themselves would see the report in advance of full publication.

"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," he said.

"My Right Honourable Friend the Prime Minister will make a statement to this House at the time when the report is published.

"With the permission of the Speaker, 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."

The Saville Tribunal was set up after a long campaign by the victims' 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 who fired the fatal shots and speculated that a number of the dead had been either firing at or nailbombing the Army.

The allegations have always been vehemently denied by the relatives and many other eyewitnesses, who insisted the dead were unarmed.

Lord Saville's inquiry has also proved controversial, but for other reasons.

The cost of the investigation currently stands at a colossal £190 million, with critics denouncing it a massive waste of taxpayers' money.

The tribunal heard evidence in the Guild Hall in Derry and in London between 2000 and 2005.

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