Disgusted victims accuse peace group of ‘heartlessness’

Ann Travers said the generic response she received from the Tipperary Peace Convention was disgraceful
Ann Travers said the generic response she received from the Tipperary Peace Convention was disgraceful

Victims’ campaigners have spoken of their disgust at their treatment at the hands of the organisation who nominated Martin McGuinness for a peace award.

Aileen Quinton said she has been blocked from commenting on the Tipperary Peace Convention’s Facebook page while Ann Travers received a generic reply to a heartfelt email.

Aileen Quinton

Aileen Quinton

Among the comments posted by Ms Quinton, daughter of Enniskillen bomb victim Alberta, were: “Is lauding terrorists and refusing to accept that their actions were unjustified or to disclose information to the police about the atrocities his organisation committed, a help in getting such a nomination or merely not important?”

She claimed she was blocked from commenting on the page after an admin removed her comment.

The UUP’s Chris McGimpsey posted on Ms Quinton’s behalf but it was again removed.

Ms Quinton said: “They say they are promoting peace through music and discussion but not with victims of terrorism.”

Ann Travers, whose sister Mary was shot dead by the IRA in 1984, emailed the group explaining her position and why she felt it inappropriate for Martin McGuinness to be nominated for a Tipperary International Peace Award (TIPA).

She received a generic response explaining the nomination process.

The stock response also said: “We appreciate and understand your comments and concerns and assure you that they are duly noted.” It added they were not in a position to enter into further correspondence.

She said: “They sent the same reply to everyone, which is quite heartless as some people shared their stories with them.

“It shows such a lack of understanding and mindfulness of Northern Ireland and victims to deny them a voice. Quite shocking and disgraceful.”

The TUV’s Sammy Morrison said the victims would make more worthy nominees than Martin McGuinness.

He said: “Why not consider someone like the victims who contacted them who in spite of their suffering never took up weapons or supported violence? Surely that was more fitting of recognition.

“People like Stephen Gault, Aileen Quinton, Austin Stack and Ann Travers have fought for justice for their loved ones yet the TIPA seeks to silence their voices while lauding a man whose IRA has trampled on the most basic and fundamental human right – the right to life.”

All posts relating to the peace award nominations have since been removed from the Tipperary Peace Convention’s Facebook page.

The group was contacted by the News Letter with regard to their treatment of people wishing to engage in debate and those registering their disapproval at the nomination of former deputy first minister Martin McGuinness.

The same generic response was received without answering any of the specific questions the paper had raised.

Tipperary Peace Convention said there would be no further comment.