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Kelly - Serious issues remain to be resolved over Inquiries

8 July, 2004

Sinn Féin Assembly member Gerry Kelly has criticised today's statement from Paul Murphy regarding the establishment of inquiries into three of the four cases demanded by Judge Cory. Mr Kelly said "while today marks a small measure of progress it has also left many serious issues outstanding ".

Mr Kelly said:

"The British government have been in possession of the Cory report since last October. In early April they published a censored version of Judge Cory's findings. Since then they have refused to hold an inquiry into the murder of Pat Finucane and today they announced the commencement of the process to set up inquiries into the three other cases.

"However Paul Murphy's statement leaves a range of serious issues outstanding and lacks detail and clarity in a number of key areas.

  • There are no Terms of Reference provided. Families and the public must be able to see what the Terms of Reference are. Anyone of any standing or integrity would need to know the Terms of Reference first before agreeing to take part. This is a key issue.
  • Nothing said about powers - again another key issue. Powers of subpoena, entry, discovery; in other words all the powers of a judicial inquiry - to be able to compel witnesses to come forward, to seize documents, enter premises etc are vital if an inquiry is to succeed in getting to the truth.
  • Who is going to be involved in the appointments process? Is there a role for the Irish government or is the British government going to conduct the entire appointments process itself.
  • Timeframe - no commencement date has been set yet despite the fact that we are already nine months on from the delivery of Cory to the British government. Of equal importance there is no completion date by which a report has to be produced.
  • Guarantees about the independence of the inquiries are crucial
  • Paul Murphy's over-emphasis on money is a real concern. The costs incurred by the Bloody Sunday Tribunal rose significantly as a result of efforts by the British state, and particularly the MoD, to block the search for truth and justice.

"Clearly therefore, while some progress has been made there are still serious issues which need to be addressed by the British government before the public can have confidence that these inquiries will have the ability to reach the truth." ENDS

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