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Solicitor Advocate Frank Maguire, of Thompsons Solicitors warned that the Archer Inquiry limitations, if carried into the Scottish Inquiry, pose a real threat to the effectiveness of the Scottish inquiry.

Mr Maguire who represents the families of the two victims whose deaths from infected NHS blood supplies sparked the Scottish Inquiry said:

“Not one single official from the Department of Health agreed to give evidence to the Archer Inquiry and that is a glaring omission which undermines the credibility of its findings.

“How can anyone get to the truth without speaking to the officials and Ministers who made the key decisions at the time?

“The danger for Scotland is that the Penrose Inquiry will find itself in the same position with absolutely no legal powers to force officials or Westminster Government Ministers to give evidence.

“This is exactly the sort of conduct that leads to talk of a cover-up.

“The Archer Inquiry has dealt with, rightly, the plight of haemophiliacs.  It also has to be recognised that thousands were transfused with infected blood, who were not haemophiliacs, when attending for surgery in our hospitals.  The Scottish Inquiry will look into those cases and also HIV.

“I also have serious concerns that the families and their representatives who fought so long and hard for a full public Inquiry in Scotland will be relegated to the role of bystanders because of the way the Inquiry has been set up.”

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