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Thursday, 25 August 2011

Hillsborough Files: Dalglish Welcomes Government Stance

Kenny Dalglish has welcomed the news that the government has urged the Hillsborough panel to release documents relating to the disaster to the public.

The recommendation comes after more than 100,000 people signed an e-petition calling for them to be publicly released.

The Cabinet Office had previously said any release of information should be managed by the panel.

Liverpool manager Dalglish said: "It is fantastic news for the families."

Dalglish was managing Liverpool for the first time when 96 fans were killed in April 1989 during a semi-final cup tie against Nottingham Forest at Sheffield Wednesday's ground.

He said: "I think this isn't a political issue - it is a humanitarian one, so at least common sense has prevailed."

When the e-petition reached 100,000 signatures, the House of Commons had to consider the issue for a parliamentary debate.

On Wednesday night, the Cabinet Office confirmed it was "happy for all the papers to be released as soon as the panel so decides, in consultation with the families".

It added: "We expect them to be shared with the Hillsborough families first and then to the wider public."

Ninety-six Liverpool fans were killed in the disaster.

Prior to that, the government had failed to publicly back calls that the documents should be released to the public.

The BBC put in a Freedom of Information request for the documents in 2009.

The Information Commissioner Christopher Graham ruled the files should be released, ahead of the usual 30-year rule. The Cabinet Office said it would appeal against the decision.

A spokesman said it would continue to appeal against the ruling as it wanted the files to be released in an ordered way to the victims' families first before the media.

Dalglish also praised Labour MP Andy Burnham, former Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, for pushing the issue forward after the 20th anniversary of the disaster.

"He has stuck to his word and delivered it as best he possibly could," Dalglish said.

He added: "Everything is looking positive for the families and everybody, irrespective of what team they support, has made a massive contribution towards the success they are having at the moment.

"Long may it continue because it was Liverpool, but it could have been any football club and I think people respect that."

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