Irish Republican News · December 15, 2005
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
Nelson inquiry delayed again

The public inquiry into the murder of human rights lawyer Rosemary Nelson is to be delayed by a year.

The inquiry team has blamed a huge workload for its decision to postpone public hearings scheduled for next spring until January 2007.

it represents the latest in a series of setbacks for the tribunals set up on the recommendation of Canadian judge Peter Cory.

The inquiry team probing allegations of British Crown force collusion in the killing began its work in April and hoped to start public hearings into the high-profile murder by the beginning of next year.

But yesterday it issued a statement revealing that the “complexity of the issues” and the volume of material had forced a delay until January 2007.

Colm Owens, solicitor for Mrs Nelson’s mother Sheila Magee, said the family had recently been told the inquiry start-date was likely to slip from the spring of next year until the autumn.

Noting that the decision to set up the inquiry was announced in November 2004, he said: “We already expressed our disappointment when it was indicated that it would not start in the spring of ‘06. This has come as a further hammer-blow.”

Rosemary Nelson, a 40-year-old mother-of-three who ran her own legal practice in Lurgan, County Armagh, became involved in a number of high-profile cases in the mid-1990s.

She was killed on March 15 1999 when a bomb exploded beneath her car as she drove to work.

Prior to her death she alleged that her life was threatened by members of the security forces, with RUC officers accused of making threats against her while interviewing her clients.

Her complaints attracted widespread media attention when she brought them before a committee of the US Congress.

The prominence of her case failed to deter her killers.

* The family of murdered defence lawyer Pat Finucane has held its first ever meeting with Ulster Unionist leader Reg Empey.

The meeting was the latest in a series of discussions which the Finucane family have held with local political parties to highlight their concerns about government-imposed restrictions on a public inquiry into the 1989 murder.

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© 2005 Irish Republican News