Press Release- Opening of UK COVID-19 Public Inquiry
The UK Covid-19 Inquiry was formally opened by it’s Chairperson Baroness Heather Hallett on 21st July 2022. In her opening statement Lady Hallett committed to undertaking a thorough investigation of the wide-ranging issues which occurred during the Covid-19 pandemic, including those which are specific to bereaved families from Northern Ireland. The Chairperson’s opening statement can be viewed in full here.
The UK Covid-19 Inquiry will be split in to several different modules which will deal with themes such as governments preparedness, response and impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. Public hearings are due to begin in Spring 2022 for Module 1. Public hearings will take place in Northern Ireland for module 2, which deals with the response to the pandemic in each devolved nation specifically. All public hearings will be available online.
It is difficult to conceive of a group who have been more tragically affected by the Covid-19 pandemic than bereaved families. The Inquiry is now accepting applications for core participant status from those with a special interest in the Public Inquiry including groups with similar interests such as bereaved families.
Northern Ireland Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice is a group dedicated to obtaining justice for those who have lost a loved one to Covid-19. The Northern Ireland group is led by Brenda Doherty and Martina Ferguson. Our key objectives are to secure answers and accountability for the deaths of our loved ones and to learn lessons to help save lives in the future and the most effective means of achieving this is by participating in the Covid-19 Public Inquiry.
The group is represented by PA Duffy & Company solicitors who are applying for core participant status on behalf of the group. You are entitled to free legal representation as the Inquiry will provide funding for groups or individuals who are designated as core participants. The deadline for applications relating to module 1 for the public is 16th August 2022.
Participation in the UK Covid-19 Inquiry gives bereaved families from Northern Ireland a chance to have their voices heard. We would encourage anyone who has lost a loved one to Covid-19 to join the group and to take the first steps in obtaining justice.