Saville report ‘must be released now’

A report into the Bloody Sunday killings must be published without delay, the annual commemoration march has heard.

The findings of the £200m Saville Inquiry, the longest in British legal history, are due in March.

A total of 14 people died after soldiers from the Parachute Regiment opened fire on civil rights protesters in January 1972 in Londonderry.

Sinn Fein deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness said: “It is time that Lord Saville set the truth free so that the world will know that after its soldiers murdered your loved ones – our people – the British establishment then set about a campaign of lies and deceit in order to cover up its murderous actions.”

“He must take all measures to ensure that his report is published without further delay.”

“And the British government must take action to ensure that the impending Westminster election is not used as another excuse to further delay its publication.”

SDLP Foyle MP Mark Durkan said the families of the victims must not lose out because of any change in government at Westminster following the report’s publication.

“The British Government must give the families proper treatment and consideration upon its release,” he added.

More than 900 witnesses have given evidence to Lord Saville’s tribunal.

Ordered by former prime minister Tony Blair in 1998 after a campaign by the families of those injured, it has become the longest and most expensive inquiry in British legal history.

The first witness was heard in November 2000 and the last in January 2005.

The tribunal received 2,500 witness statements and 160 volumes of evidence.

Relatives of those killed have called for the report to be published immediately, but there have been a string of delays in finalising the dossier.

Mr Durkan added: “I know the announcement last September that the report would not be ready until March 22 brought huge disappointment and some concern to the families. I fully shared those frustrations and sympathies.”

“It created yet more implications and could still create many complications.”