Representing Victims of Terrorism in South Armagh
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Letter to the editor

Dear Editor, Victims have watched the political process for over a decade as it has twisted and turned always at the behest of the terrorist and to the detriment of the victim. In recent months the speed and direction of certain unionists who worked with us to expose and oppose the same process is shocking. However what is most shocking is the total lack of communication with victims. The DUP now add insult to injury as they enjoy their honeymoon with Sinn Fein.

Despite the promises they made they have shown no product to date, in fact in the few simple matters we asked their support in they could not have done less or ruined things any more if they had tried. For example the Victims Commissioner, we asked that it was not linked to the Office of First or Deputy First Minister and that the likes of Martin McGuiness and Gerry Kelly would not be de facto Victims Ministers. This is not an unreasonable request for the victims who have suffered at their hands.

We also asked that the Commissioner be independent of government and fiscally and strategically free of the Institutions, however this again have not been secured. We wonder now was it poor negotiating skills or are the DUP trying to further hurt the victims? Now we wait with dread to see the mess they make of the appointment of the new Commissioner, which if the process surrounding the previous appointment is anything to go by will be farcical.

The fact that this left a shadow over the exemplary work of Bertha McDougall is something we all regret. Her professionalism and empathy was a breath of fresh air sadly the names already being mooted to replace her are far from acceptable by victims we represent. However given the current DUP policy of appeasement we can expect some ex-prisoner to assume the role.

It would appear that the DUP are trying to intimidate and destroy the victims sector, however if they ask their new Sinn Fein/IRA colleagues who tried and failed to do it for over thirty years they have a struggle on their hands. We have fought to preserve decency and democracy in this country for nearly four decades and we will continue to oppose the enemies of such no matter who they are. If the DUP try and ignore us lie to us and intimidate us they will fail and fail spectacularly.

Whilst Mr Paisley remains the head of his church we call upon his fellow ministers to reason with him and to urge him not to add insult to our long injury. Many of his ministers led funerals and comforted families and we now look to them for moral courage and action in these dark days.


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