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Departmental Inquiries

Volume 478: debated on Thursday 26 June 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what independent inquiries have been commissioned by his Department in the last five years; what the (a) purpose and (b) cost was of each; and what steps were taken following each such inquiry. (212318)

The Robert Hamill inquiry, the Rosemary Nelson inquiry, and the Billy Wright inquiry are independent public inquiries which have been established by my office in the last five years. Their terms of reference, announced on 16 November 2004, are:

The Robert Hamill inquiry

To inquire into the death of Robert Hamill with a view to determining whether any wrongful act or omission by or within the Royal Ulster Constabulary facilitated his death or obstructed the investigation of it, or whether attempts were made to do so; whether any such act or omission was intentional or negligent; whether the investigation of his death was carried out with due diligence; and to make recommendations.

The Rosemary Nelson inquiry

To inquire into the death of Rosemary Nelson with a view to determining whether any wrongful act or omission by or within the Royal Ulster Constabulary, Northern Ireland Office, Army or other state agency facilitated her death or obstructed the investigation of it, or whether attempts were made to do so; whether any such act or omission was intentional or negligent; whether the investigation of her death was carried out with due diligence; and to make recommendations.

The Billy Wright inquiry

To inquire into the death of Billy Wright with a view to determining whether any wrongful act or omission by or within the prison authorities or other state agencies facilitated his death, or whether attempts were made to do so; whether any such act or omission was intentional or negligent; and to make recommendations.

The costs to the end of May 2008 of each public inquiry are:

£ million

The Robert Hamill inquiry

15.62

The Rosemary Nelson inquiry

27.39

The Billy Wright inquiry

16.75

The inquiries have not yet completed.