Victims: No apology for focusing on Maze

Election Diary 2014
Election Diary 2014

The Innocent Victims United group has renewed its appeal for DUP MEP Diane Dodds to sign its victims contract.

In Saturday’s News Letter, Mrs Dodds suggested that instead of “continually raising” the row over the Maze peace centre, unionists should focus on the economic development of the Maze site.

But the victims group said it “makes no apology for continually raising a subject matter which has concerned innocent victims and survivors of terrorism and ‘other Troubles-related violence’ since the moment and hour the project was first


The group said that its membership had been “deeply confused and concerned by the position adopted by the DUP where it has refused to sign up to the victims contract but where it also refused to state its rationale for not doing so”.

It added: “The DUP has gone from vociferously selling the merits of the project to the point of pressing the pause button; victims won’t accept anything less than for the project to be permanently taken off the table whilst any of the old prison listed buildings remain.”

Catholic bishop issues guidance on voting

A Roman Catholic bishop has issued guidelines which he has suggested Catholics should use to “inform their conscience” when deciding how to vote on Thursday.

Bishop Noel Treanor dwelt at length on the issues of abortion and gay marriage as important when voting, as well as “promoting justice, social inclusion and concern for the poor” and “promoting peace and reconciliation”.

The Bishop of Down and Connor said that how one votes is “ultimately a matter of personal conscience” but added that it was necessary to “inform our conscience”.

In the 600-word guidance document, he described the European Union as “a noble and historic project”.

He also said that “it is a welcome sign of normality and progress that many citizens are engaging conscientiously and decisively with social and moral issues in Northern Ireland elections, beyond the traditional polarities of the constitutional question”.

Bishop Treanor said it was “important for those who believe in the equal right to life of a mother and her unborn child during pregnancy, and who believe that the direct and intentional killing of an innocent person can never be morally justified, to establish the position of each individual candidate on this fundamental moral issue”. And he said it was important to establish a candidate’s position on same-sex unions, which he described as “fundamentally and objectively different from the complementary sexual union of a woman and a man”.

Tory heading right to the top

Conservative European election candidate Mark Brotherston is not expected to be elected an MEP on Thursday, but if he is, he may have to change his schedule.

The Territorial Army Major is planning to climb Slieve Donard every month between now and September, as well as completing a quarter Ironman — cycling, running and swimming over a 35-mile course. In October, Mr Brotherston plans to climb 19,431ft to the top of Mt Kilimanjaro in a bid to raise £30,000 for Cancer Focus NI.