Skip to main content

Saville Inquiry

Volume 508: debated on Wednesday 24 March 2010

9. When he next expects the final report from the Saville inquiry to be published; and if he will make a statement. (322981)

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.

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?

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.

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?

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.