Page last updated at 17:10 GMT, Tuesday, 6 April 2010 18:10 UK

Saville Bloody Sunday inquiry delayed until after poll

Shaun Woodward
Shaun Woodward spoke to Lord Saville on Tuesday

The Northern Ireland Office has said that the Bloody Sunday Inquiry report will not be handed over to parliament until after the general election.

A spokesperson said that the decision had been taken because of the impending dissolution of parliament.

Government advisors are reviewing the report to ensure it does not endanger individuals or national security.

Tony Doherty, whose father was one of those killed on 30 January 1972, said he was "disappointed" by the delay.

He said: "We have known for some time that the dates around the commencement and finishing of the security review and the dissolution of parliament were going to represent an unfortunate coincidence so it is not surprising.

"But it is disappointing nonetheless that the families have to wait until the third or fourth week in May at the earliest."

The inquiry, led by Lord Saville, began in 2000 and finished hearing evidence in 2004.

Practicable

The Secretary of State Shaun Woodward has previously expressed a hope that the report could be published before the election.

However he cautioned that parliament would have to be sitting in order to facilitate its publication.

Gordon Brown's announcement on Tuesday that the general election will be on May 6 means that parliament will be dissolved on April 14.

The government has said it is not possible to give the report to parliament before then.

An NIO spokesperson said: "The Secretary of State has today asked Lord Saville to continue to keep possession of the report and therefore not to hand it over to the government until the election has taken place."

The spokesperson added that it would be published to parliament "as soon as is practicable after a new parliament has been convened."

The report is being checked by a small team of officials and legal advisers, which includes staff from the Ministry of Defence and MI5.

Thirteen people died after paratroopers opened fire during a civil rights march in Londonderry in January 1972. Another person died of his injuries some time later.



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