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22 July 1999 Edition

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Bloody Sunday hearings delayed

Relatives of those murdered on Bloody Sunday have been dealt what has been described as a ``soul destroying blow with the announcement that the Saville Inquiry has been forced to delay the start of public hearings for six months.

The public hearings were due to start in September in Derry, but because of judicial reviews which have been initiated by former British soldiers, the public hearings will not now start until 27 March 2000.

Patricia Coyle, a solicitor with Madden and Finucane, who are representing most of the families of those murdered and those injured said: ``Our clients are both disappointed and concerned that the soldiers proceedings in England have impeded the Inquiry's work. They hope that the Inquiry's task to establish the truth and facts of what happened on Bloody Sunday will progress without further interruption.

Patricia Coyle also expressed her hope that the inquiry would adhere to its latest revised timetable.

Meanwhile, a spokesman for the inquiry also revealed that the inquiry team would ``rule nearer the time and in the light of circumstances on whether or not British military witnesses would give evidence in Derry.
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