An unlikely victim of the Troubles has revealed she will stand in the forthcoming Belfast council elections for new party NI21.
Author Jayne Olorunda, 35, from Belfast, was just two years old when her father, Nigerian-born Max Olorunda, was killed by an IRA incendiary bomb that detonated prematurely in Dunmurry aboard a train from Ballymena to Belfast in January 1980.
Now, after writing Legacy, a book about how her family lived with and continue to live with the aftermath of her father’s tragic death, she has decided to become a voice in south Belfast for NI21.
She said: “Politics was always something I had been interested in but as an ordinary person with no real political background it was just something I watched from the sidelines.
“NI21 is all about aspiring to better and they encourage ordinary people to get involved. If Northern Ireland is to change, it is ordinary people that will do it.”
And when it comes to victims’ issues, Jayne explained that her experiences growing up were more than just about being a “victim of the Troubles”.
When Basil McCrea said that a line needed “drawn under the past” and that “victims should be told the truth”, Jayne said she understood his message.
She said: “NI21 are known as the party that said to ‘draw a line under the past and move on’ but what they mean is that victims will never see justice and that they are currently being used as a political football.
“NI21 believe that justice is unlikely for many people and they should be supported in other, more practical ways and as a party they will do that.”
For Jayne, who will be standing in south Belfast, Rosetta ward, she said after many years she’s finally found her “political home” with NI21.
She added: “I believe it is a party for all, it rejects sectarianism, offers a common sense approach and embraces progress.
“Most of all NI21 is refreshingly honest.”
‘Parties use past for own agenda’
For Jayne, who lives in south Belfast, the failure of the Haass talks was instrumental in consolidating her decision to pursue politics.
“The parties’ failure to agree on Haass also made me stand back and really look at our political parties,” she said. “In reality, the past is one of many issues that they use to promote and often expose their green or orange allegiances.
“In a post-conflict society, this is no way forward.”