SCOTLAND’S Covid-19 inquiry has opened applications for groups or individuals to become “core participants”.

The inquiry, which will be chaired by Lady Poole, was set up at the end of last year to look at the impact of and response to the pandemic.

According to the inquiry, core participants will have the ability to make statements to the inquiry, recommend questions for counsel to ask witnesses, and gain early access to reports.

Applications for the status will be open until September 16, with a list of successful applicants published later this year.

“This independent inquiry will, without fear or favour, investigate the strategic response to a pandemic which has affected all of Scotland’s more than five million people,” Lady Poole said on Monday.

“Thousands have died as a result of the pandemic and many are still suffering its consequences.

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“People clearly have strong views and legitimate questions about how the pandemic has been managed.

“This is an inquiry for the people of Scotland.

“It is my role as chair to work independently of government to establish the facts, openly and transparently.

“I will also make recommendations, based on the lessons learned, to Scottish ministers to take forward to ensure Scotland is better prepared in future.

“Justice involves the Inquiry not only getting to the right answers but doing so with reasonable speed and without excessive cost.

“It is vital we gather evidence from as many difference sources as possible to ensure our investigation is robust and thorough, and we will provide ample opportunity for everyone to be involved.

“As is the case with any public inquiry, the number of core participants will have to be limited because designating an excessive number would likely make the Inquiry unmanageable, take longer and, ultimately, defeat its overall purpose.

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“There will be many ways for people to participate in the Inquiry without being designated as core participants.

“The public deserve answers to their questions and we are going to provide those answers.

“The inquiry will do this by investigating independently and robustly, and digging deep where required.”