20 January 2005
COMMITTEE SEEKS VIEWS OF THOSE MOST DIRECTLY AFFECTED BY THE CONFLICT IN NORTHERN IRELAND TO ITS INQUIRY INTO 'DEALING WITH THE PAST'
On 4 November 2004, the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee announced a major inquiry in to 'Reconciliation: Dealing with Northern Ireland's Past'
Mr Michael Mates, Chairman of the Committee, said:
"The initial response to our inquiry has been very good, and we wish to thank the many people and organisations who have taken the trouble to write to us with their views on the issue of reconciliation in Northern Ireland.
"Dealing with Northern Ireland's past is first and foremost a matter for the people of Northern Ireland themselves, and for those others affected directly by the brutality of the last 30 years. This committee is eager to hear from a wide range of those who wish to contribute to our inquiry, and we intend to invite a number of people to present their views to us over the coming months. Given the importance and complexity of dealing with the past, and the number of people who wish to contribute to our work, hearing the evidence is likely to be a lengthy process.
"The committee felt strongly that the first step should be to hear the views of those most directly and brutally affected by the conflict - the victims and those groups which represent them. We are most grateful to the many who have responded to the initial announcement of this inquiry last November. I would now ask that those who have not yet done so, and who wish to contribute, should write to us. The address to write to is:
Clerk of the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee, Committee Office, 7 Millbank, LONDON, SW1P 3JA
Mr Mates concluded:
"We are determined that those giving evidence to us in this most sensitive of areas should be offered an appropriate environment in which to speak frankly and fully. It is for this reason that the committee has decided to hold these hearings in private. There is of course no intention to restrict access to the evidence which we shall publish as normal in due course."
Committee staff may be contacted on 020 7219 2171.