What her role has been in the re-opened inquiry into the loss of the fishing boat, Trident; and if she will make a statement.
I requested and arranged a preliminary meeting of potential parties to the rehearing and their representatives, which took place before the Sheriff Principal at Aberdeen sheriff court on
I thank the Advocate-General for her consideration in meeting the relatives with me. As she is well aware, they have waited a quarter of a century to find out what happened to their loved ones in the loss of the fishing boat, Trident. Can she therefore give an assurance, first, that, in so far as it falls within her responsibilities, there will be no unnecessary delays in the inquiry process, and secondly, that the families will have proper legal representation throughout the process through public funds?
A vast amount of the delay was caused by the fact that the fishing boat in question was not discovered until relatively recently. So far as it is within my power, I shall certainly do as much as I can to expedite the process. The hon. Gentleman is aware that it involves highly technical work, which is dependent on the seas and the weather, so there will inevitably be further delays.
Legal expenses and representation is a matter for the Department for Transport, but the matter was raised formally at the preliminary inquiry and it is always open to parties to make representations directly to the Department.