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Last Updated: Monday, 4 June 2007, 20:00 GMT 21:00 UK
Saville will not get to 'truth'
Soldiers in Derry on Bloody Sunday
Soldiers shot 14 people dead in Derry on Bloody Sunday
The inquiry into Bloody Sunday will not uncover the definitive truth surrounding the killings, a former senior civil servant has said.

Irish Senator Maurice Hayes said the 175m spent on the inquiry so far could have been put to better use.

His comments came at the Tip O'Neill Peace Lecture at the University of Ulster's Magee campus in Londonderry.

He warned a fixation with past atrocities could threaten the work of the devolved policitical institutions.

"The general political will that the institutions should be made to work (and) should be allowed to do so could easily be frustrated if we insist on picking at the sores of old wounds, raising old ghosts, revive old animosities and suspicions, and most of all shattering the burgeoning trust which is a prerequisite for peaceful co-existence and co-operation, " he said.

Mr Hayes is an independent member of the Irish Republic's Senate and a former Northern Ireland Ombudsman.

His high-profile career has also included roles as a Permanent Secretary in Northern Ireland's Department of Health and Social Services and on the Patten Commission on policing.

In January 1972 paratroopers opened fire during a civil rights march in Derry, killing 14.

The Saville Inquiry was established in 1998 by Prime Minister Tony Blair after a campaign by families of those killed and injured.

Its findings will not be published until at least the end of next year.

Mr Hayes warned against expecting too much from the tribunal.

He also suggested other outrages had a case for similar public probes.

"I do not believe that the Saville Inquiry will unearth the essential truth, the definitive account of the events on Bloody Sunday, which are so deeply incised on the psyche of this city," he said.

"I can think of many better things to do for the families of victims and survivors for 200m.

"And if Bloody Sunday, why not inquiries for every other atrocity beginning at Abercorn and ending at Omagh?"

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