Bishop of Liverpool appointed chair of Hillsborough panel

The Bishop of Liverpool will chair the panel that will oversee the public release of thousands of documents about the 1989 Hillsborough Disaster.

The release of the documents into the tragedy that claimed the lives of 96 Liverpool supporters at Sheffield Wednesday’s Hillsborough Stadium in an FA Cup semi-final against Nottingham Forest could bring the families of the victims closer to justice, almost 21 years on.

Reverend James Jones will head the committee of five who are appointed to oversee the organisation of the papers before public release.

On taking the role, the Bishop signaled his intentions to those affected by the Disaster. He said, “I want to assure especially the Hillsborough families I will give myself wholeheartedly to the work of the independent panel,” he said.

“The fact that 30,000 people came to Anfield for the Hillsborough 20th anniversary service shows how deep the wound is still, and how great the longing is for healing.

“I am very aware that although many have waited years for this independent panel, the recalling of 15th April 1989 will nevertheless be a very painful and difficult time for all who were affected and for the cities of Liverpool, Sheffield and Nottingham.”

The announcement that the documents will be released into the public domain was made in July 2009 after more pressure from the Hillsborough Family Support Group around the time of the Disaster’s 20th anniversary in April.

Home Secretary Alan Johnson told reporters, “I am delighted Bishop James has accepted the responsibility of chairing the panel. He is respected across Liverpool and beyond for his work for the city and its people.

“He is respected across Liverpool and beyond for his work for the city and its people.”

For more information on the Hillsborough Disaster click here