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Representing Victims of Terrorism in South Armagh
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02.01.07

Promise broken on Victims’ Commissioner

Statement issued on behalf of FAIR.

Victims group FAIR is considering legal action over the failure to appoint a Victims’ Commissioner for Northern Ireland. The organisation says if an appointment is not confirmed by the end of the month it will seek a judicial review to force the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister into taking urgent action. The organisation is accusing the OFM/DFM of negligence in its failure to deal with the victims’ issue.

FAIR Director, William, Frazer has released the following statement: “We have been told an announcement on a Victims’ Commissioner would be made early in the New Year. At this stage, we, as the biggest victims’ group, have been given no indication about when that appointment will be made.

“Every week, someone dies who could have benefited from a Victims’ Commissioner. “I have to ask, is it the case that the OFM/DFM thinks if it waits long enough most of the mothers and widows will have died off? It’s an utter disgrace the way they are being treated.

“Some politicians are genuine in their attempts to get a Victims’ Commissioner, but the OFM/DFM seems to be content with misleading them. That’s hardly surprising as the organisation the Deputy First Minister represents has been responsible for most of the victims in the first place. No wonder nothing is being done. There’s no point them throwing around figures on how much they say they’ve spent, trying to mislead people. I challenge them to a public debate – there are more than enough victims to have one. It just seems that they want to forget about people who have suffered for 30-odd years and hope they will go away, but that is not going to happen.

“There was supposed to be a Victims’ Commissioner before Christmas, but it didn’t happen and there’s no sign of it happening. If by the end of the month a Commissioner has not been appointed and a financial package agreed to help those still suffering, we will be taking a judicial review over the negligence of the OFM/DFM.

“Commitments made to victims have simply not been honoured. How ironic it is that our First Minister was shouting never, never, never, when we were burying people. Yet since he has been in government, nothing has been done for the families of those very people. He has done very little in his time in power, but has found time to swan around the United States with Martin McGuinness in a chuckle brothers routine that has caused even more heartache for the victims. We want action, and we want action now.”

 



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