Saville Inquiry

Oral Answers to Questions — Northern Ireland – in the House of Commons at 11:30 am on 24th March 2010.

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Photo of Andrew Robathan Andrew Robathan Opposition Deputy Chief Whip (Commons) 11:30 am, 24th March 2010

When he next expects the final report from the Saville inquiry to be published; and if he will make a statement.

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Photo of Shaun Woodward Shaun Woodward The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland

The House will be pleased to hear that finally, after more than a decade, Lord Saville will, this afternoon, I believe, make available to my officials his final report and inquiry, so that they may begin the checking process on article 2 obligations and national security that I am obliged to carry out as Secretary of State.

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Photo of Andrew Robathan Andrew Robathan Opposition Deputy Chief Whip (Commons)

What took place on Bloody Sunday was a tragedy, whoever was to blame. It took place nearly 40 years ago. We have spent £200 million of taxpayers' money and 12 years looking at the issues, probably just to stir up old enmities and reopen old sores. Does the Secretary of State think that it is all worth doing?

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Photo of Shaun Woodward Shaun Woodward The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland

The hon. Gentleman is right to record the fact that the report has cost £200 million. I disagree with him about the value of the Saville inquiry. Without the Saville inquiry, there would have been no stable peace process. Because of the inquiry, it has been possible to establish the bona fides for a peace process to succeed, and the whole House will be grateful for that success.

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Photo of Gregory Campbell Gregory Campbell Shadow Minister (Transport), Shadow Minister (Work and Pensions)

Given that almost £200 million has been spent, with no definitive outcome yet in sight, does the Secretary of State agree that now is the time to call an end to further wasteful inquiries and deal with genuine innocent victims for the future rather than trying to remember the past?

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Photo of Shaun Woodward Shaun Woodward The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland

The hon. Gentleman need take no lessons, certainly from me, in being reminded that several thousand people lost their lives in the course of the troubles. We cannot forget the past; I am sure that he shares that view. The Saville inquiry will help us to produce the truth about the events of that day. We will learn from this inquiry. However, we do need a process to enable Northern Ireland to reconcile itself with its past.

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