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Representing Victims of Terrorism in South Armagh
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15/9/04
Positive Noises from the Unioinist Camp

The FAIR delegation standing outside Leeds Castle have been encouraged by the actions of the DUP in coming out to meet them at around dinnertime today. Peter Robinson, Arlene Foster, Gregory Campbell and Jeffrey Donaldson emerged from the Castle to discuss some pertinent issues with the representatives.

We have been informed that the issue of amnesties for terrorists is not even on the agenda, and that the issue of the victims will definitely be raised. The IRA will have to decommission and disband completely, and there will be no room for half-measures. This morning the DUP raised the matter of proper, scheduled funding for the Victims and the issue of the Victim’s Commission with the Secretary of state. They described their discussion as being encouraging and constructive, and the general feeling is that the victims are finally receiving the attention they deserve, rather than the mere lip service offered in the Peace Agreement.

The FAIR delegation has been reassured by the actions of the DUP, not least due to their efforts in listening to our concerns. It has been encouraging to note their diligence in ensuring that they have the grassroots firmly behind them, and that the majority of Unionists do not intend to forget those innocents who have suffered within their community.

Whilst Sinn Fein takes their seats at the talks, we feel that their unapologetic stand for terrorism and lack of movement in the disbandment of the IRA spells political intransigence. Perhaps Mr Adam’s car should have been thoroughly checked on the way in this morning amid furious bug-hunting. If they are going straight, what is there to hide?

One consoling factor is that there are those who will not concede our dignity, future and the lives of our children into the hands of the IRA. Mr Paisley’s fighting spirit has been fired up for the occasion, and he seemed 30 years younger this morning with the prospect of the Talks.

 



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