FROM 'VICTIMS' UNIT
The name of the ‘Victims Unit’, part of OFMDFM, is a misnomer
in the worst sense of the word. This taskforce is supposedly in place
to provide for and protect the needs of victims of conflict, yet they
have consistently insulted the memories of thousands in Northern Ireland.
The bias of these Stormont mandarins is clear for all to see in the response
to a proposal made by FAIR for a permanent memorial centre and base of
operations for supporting victims and their families. This response has
been outlined below with comments from FAIR Director William Frazer.
It is sad that those who made this decision are obeying orders from those,
to whom the victims voice is a thorn in the side. If victims would simply
lie down and be silent, the process of appeasement to terrorists could
continue at a more rapid pace with no grieving families to prick the conscience.
focused on the requirement that all groups funded under PEACE II
demonstrate how they will ‘pave the way to reconciliation’.
The following concerns were identified vis-à-vis the applicant’s
response to question 7 on reconciliation:
1. It was of a general nature
(in terms of the first paragraph)
The application specifically
addressed how the project would would aid reconciliation. We argue
that this statement is completly unsubstantiated and untrue.
2. It was a permissive rather than proactive
Again we feel this is untrue.
The project actively addressed the main concerns of the victims
we represent. FAIR makes no apologies for refusing to 'railroad'
our members into situations where they feel marginalised and uncomfortable.
Our project is proactive - but at a pace set by the victims - not
enforced by the Governments timetable.
3. There was a lack of clear actions which would
have a demonstrably conciliatory effect -It was thus agreed that
the projects commitment to reconciliation was very
This application was carefully
prepared by experts in funding to suit the needs and issues of FAIR's
membership. It was also reviewed by persons with experience of assessing
PEACE applications who felt the application was strong with significant
merits in terms of reconciliatory outcomes. We fail to see how the
panel can have made this statement in the face of these opinions
unless they are blatantly trying to undermine our work.
The panel was clear that it focused on the project as submitted,
rather than any other information about FAIR in the public domain.
It also recognised that the fact that FAIR was a ‘single
identity’ organisation did not in itself vitiate
its application, but it did have to demonstrate that the project
would progress towards cross community relationships.
Once more FAIR make no apologies for the
make up of our membership. The fact that the vast majority of
victims in South Armagh were Protestant is undisputable. The fact
that the majority, although not all, of our membership are Protestant
is irrelevant to this application and we fail to see why this
has been raised at all. As for 'progress towards cross community
relationships', surely assisting families to grieve, rebuild their
lives and gain justice will allow them to build confidence, move
on and re-engauge into society and interact in a cross-community
There was concern in the regard that the
project was focused on memorialising ‘innocent’
victims of terrorism rather than assisting an environment in which
all victims could be become survivors, without
denying the reality of their suffering.
The notion that terrorists killed in the
process of planning and commiting evil acts are victims is offensive
to all decent people. We will never accept this
degrading and devalueing concept. We also will not accept the fact
that those perpetrators of violence are simply 'victims of circumstances'.
FAIR have the support of many politicians from across the political
spectrum on this matter, and again we feel that this stance has
been used to discriminate against us.
Example Of The Continuing Discrimination
faced by FAIR: FAIR spent a week preparing an application and were turned
down. Unbeknown to the funders we also completed another similar application
on behalf of another victims group within two hours. Their's was passed. When we asked
the funders why one succeeded and the other failed they told us the other
was better at completing their application - this is the type of discrimination
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