Northern Ireland

Paterson calls for end to Bloody Sunday 'speculation'

Bloody Sunday
Image caption Thirteen people died in Londonderry on Bloody Sunday

The Secretary of State said he is hopeful that something constructive will emerge from Lord Saville's long awaited report on Bloody Sunday.

The report into the killings of 13 people in 1972 is due to be published on Tuesday.

The report took 12 years to compile, at a cost of almost £200m.

Owen Paterson said people should stop speculating and take the time needed to digest the report when it is published.

"We waited 12 years for this enormous report to come forward.

"It's 5,000 pages long, it has cost £192m and I just think we owe it to all those who are very closely involved not to keep this speculation up.

"Let's see what's in the report and read it in a sensible, methodical manner, in all its details from Tuesday onwards."

The Ulster Unionist MLA David McNarry said there should be no more inquiries after Bloody Sunday.

"You cannot put soldiers in the dock through an inquiry.

"If we are to draw a line in the sand under this, I think what unionists would be looking for is to say there has been this inquiry and the families have got this inquiry at enormous cost but there are still hundreds of families who haven't got near an inquiry."

The Foyle MP Mark Durkan said lessons can be learned from the report's findings.

"If the report is received in the right way, depending on what it says, can actually offer us some opportunity to heal history and on the basis of healing history, then we can help to heal some of the specific hurts that are carried by so many."

The Justice Secretary Ken Clarke said the inquiry has been a "disaster in terms of time and expense" and had got "ludicrously out of hand".

Mr Clarke added he was considering how future inquiries should be held.

The former barrister, said he was in discussion to ensure future judge-led inquiries would be more efficiently handled.

"I'm anxiously considering how we can stop such inquiries getting ludicrously out of hand, in terms of cost and length, as the Saville Inquiry was allowed to do."

On Friday, the families of those killed on Bloody Sunday expressed anger after a newspaper leak ahead of the publication of the Saville Inquiry report.

The Guardian claimed the report will say some of those who died were unlawfully killed.

The paper said it had not seen the report but its journalist had been briefed by people who may have seen it, believed to be political rather than military sources.

The Guardian said it was not clear whether Lord Saville would directly recommend prosecutions.

BBC Northern Ireland reporter Paul McCauley, who covered the inquiry, said the Bloody Sunday families are not happy about the leak because they had "gone to great lengths" to be allowed to see the report before it was laid before Parliament and published.

More on this story