NI Covid Bereaved Families for Justice– Press Release
Northern Ireland Covid Bereaved Families for Justice welcome the decision of the Chairperson of the Covid-19 Inquiry Baroness Hallett to grant Core Participant status to the group which secures our involvement in Module 1 of the Inquiry.
We are heartened by Lady Hallett’s comments that the bereaved will be at the heart of the Inquiry and are reassured by her endorsement of our view that we are best placed to assist the Inquiry in understanding the perspective of the bereaved in Northern Ireland when it examines the UK’s resilience and preparedness for the Covid-19 Pandemic.
Of the 130 core participant applications received by the Inquiry, only 28 were granted including Northern Ireland Covid Bereaved Families for Justice and associated bereaved groups in other UK nations. This reflects the central importance that the bereaved have in this Inquiry. A full list of Core Participants can be viewed here.
The Chair’s determination of Core Participant status for Northern Ireland Bereaved Families for Justice can also be viewed in full here.
The decision was announced publicly at the first preliminary hearing for Module 1 of the Inquiry which took place today. This was a significant step for the families, many of whom have been campaigning for an Inquiry for over two years.
Today the Chair listened to detailed submissions from our legal representatives in relation to Module 1 which can be viewed here. The Chair was receptive to our arguments that Module 1 should take account of the unique geographical and political circumstances in Northern Ireland and how they are different to the other UK nations in the context of preparedness for the Covid-19 pandemic. A copy our joint written submissions with Covid Bereaved Families for Justice UK can be viewed here.
We acknowledge that this is only the beginning of the journey toward securing answers and accountability for the death of our loved ones and we now look forward to the substantive evidence hearings for Module 1 which are due to begin in May 2023.
Northern Ireland Bereaved Families for Justice have arranged an event at the Europa Hotel Belfast on Saturday 22nd October 2022 at 11am. The event will be an opportunity for all of our members to meet in person and for new members or those interested in joining to find out more. The event will be attended by our legal representatives who will provide an update on the progress of the UK Covid-19 Inquiry as well as details of the group’s ongoing campaign to secure a separate devolved Inquiry in Northern Ireland.
The event will also be attended by local politicians and guest speakers including Professor Phil Scraton who is a human rights expert and academic who is best known for his investigative work on the circumstances surrounding the Hillsborough stadium disaster in 1989.
There is still time to sign up as a member of the group and to avail of fully funded legal representation at the UK Covid-19 Inquiry. To sign up to the group you can simply email us to email@example.com or alternatively you can contact our legal representatives PA Duffy & Company solicitors at firstname.lastname@example.org or 02887722102.
NORTHERN IRELAND BEREAVED FAMILIES FOR JUSTICE (NICBFJ)