We object in principle to the Report furnished by Counsel to the Tribunal and recently published on the Internet.
This Report and its contents were not disseminated in draft to the parties prior to its publication hence the need to respond publicly.
Our objections, in outline, are as follows:
|1.||Counsel to the Tribunal ought not to usurp the role of the Tribunal itself by forming and disseminating preliminary conclusions.|
|2||To form any preliminary conclusions at this stage is dangerous when no-one, including Counsel to the Tribunal, has had an opportunity to review all the presently available evidence.|
|3||To form preliminary conclusions merely on the basis of some of the material which was before Widgery is a fatally flawed approach especially in view of the extent to which the original Widgery Tribunal and its findings have been discredited.|
|4||In arriving at his preliminary conclusions Counsel to the Tribunal has not considered the NICRA statements, which although available to Widgery, were disregarded by him – this replicates a fundamental error made by Widgery and one which has been subject to sustained criticism since.|
|5||Counsel to the Tribunal has taken no account of, inter alia, Professor Walsh’s report, which has been available to the Inquiry for many months and, which shows compellingly that soldiers’ evidence was unreliable. On the contrary he bases his analysis on those soldiers’ evidence.|
|6||To issue preliminary conclusions at this stage on incomplete and flawed material diverts the energies of the parties from reviewing the new and newly disclosed material and gives the appearance of prematurity, superficiality and selectivity to the work of Counsel to the Tribunal.|
|7||At paragraphs 4.7.2 interested parties are invited to contact the Inquiry if they believe the Tribunal plan to be inaccurate. An outside stairwell at the south eastern corner of Glenfada Park South is not included in the map. Many witnesses took cover in this stairwell. Apart from correcting this “error” the Tribunal should in our view investigate the provenance and history of this “error”.|
|8||The Report is not accepted as either accurate or helpful for the reasons given above.|
Dated this 15th day of December 1998
|Reg Weir QC
Royal Courts of Justice
|Seamus Treacy BL
Royal Courts of Justice