Republican News · Thursday 07 September 2000

[An Phoblacht]

New Judge for Bloody Sunday Inquiry

A retired Australian High Court Judge has been appointed to the Bloody Sunday Tribunal of Inquiry.

John Toohey, 70, agreed to accept the appointment following meetings in Perth last week with Lord Saville, the Chairman of the Tribunal, and William Hoyt, former Chief Justice of Canada and the second member of the panel.

The vacancy had been created by the resignation in July of Sir Edward Somers, a retired New Zealand judge, who cited personal reasons and a lack of ``vigour and energy'' as the reasons for his departure.

Toohey, a former Visiting Professor at the Law School, University of Western Australia, cites an interest in Aboriginal issues. His appointment follows weeks of searching by the Lord Chancellor's Office for a replacement to Sir Edward Somers.

The Tribunal will now resume hearings on Monday 13 November, with the intervening period to allow Toohey to familiarise himself with the huge volume of evidence that the Inquiry has in its possession. Counsel for the families and wounded will begin making their opening statements when the Inquiry resumes.

Meanwhile, the Bloody Sunday Trust has extended an invitation to Regional Development Minister Gregory Campbell to meet with organisers of the annual Bloody Sunday Commemoration. The invitation followed comments in the Derry Sentinel by Campbell in which he stated that ``there are a number of nationalist events that take place every year which unionists would object to, including Bloody Sunday events''.

Campbell said that following the dialogue between the Bogside Residents' Group and the Apprentice Boys prior to the August parade in the city, the same type of dialogue should take place to consult with unionists. ``When the Shared City Forum was set up, nationalist councillors agreed that issues that affect the nnionist community must also be taken into account. Now is the time to deliver,'' he asserted.

Robin Percival, Chair of the Bloody Sunday Trust, responded: ``We believe that the talks between the Apprentice Boys Association and the Bogside Residents' Group have provided a model which others can follow. We note and welcome the range of activities that have been organised by the Apprentice Boys, such as poster competitions, exhibitions and pageants which have been facilitated by dialogue and which have been supported by people drawn from all communities.

``It is our hope that talks between representatives of the unionist community and the Bloody Sunday Trust would equally facilitate events associated with Bloody Sunday in which all sections of the community can feel free to participate.''

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