Representing Victims of Terrorism in South Armagh
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Victims Isolated

It would seem that of late and especially since the last election, that there is an attempt to sideline the victims issue. One can only assume that this is because not everyone is dancing to the tune of the politicians and government.

As far as victims are concerned, not much has changed. If anything the pain and suffering has increased within the victims community as we see terrorists past and present honoured. To add insult to injury, victims hear statements by individuals who refer to the current feel-good factor. This feel-good factor is a myth. FAIR and other victims groups are still growing in terms of membership and in recent months have been inundated with new members. We just received 2000 signatures from FAIR members, each of whom is a victim through personal injury or loss of a loved one. So the victims groups are not going away, but in contrast are growing by the day. If the government continues to ignore us, the situation is only going to get worse.

Another factor that is also aggravating victims, is some of these small groups who speak for very few, being taken by the hand. For example, take the day of reflection that is being promoted. Any victims we are linked to have said they have been reflecting on their own loss or injury since the day it happened. Calling for a day of reflection is at best na´ve. We would challenge any of these groups to a public debate and ask how many of them are actually victims, because it seems like many are jumping on the victims band wagon for the ride. If you tow the government line, there is a gravy train out there with no end. However all this can never help sort out the problem in our community and really help the victims.

We have heard much of the exemplary peace process in South Africa, but we have not challenged this or even played much attention to it, as it seems like just an excuse for a free trip to South Africa.

The victims is not going to go away and until we are listened to, the issue can never be resolved. If it is the case that victims have to take to the streets again to get the attention of the powers that be, then so be it. We have already done this in Dublin recently, as victims felt that the Irish government were not taking us seriously. Once again we reiterate our warning to the government not to belittle or isolate victims.


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