A major coalition of victims groups said yesterday that as talks intensify on a possible deal, the Haass team “must stand by the innocent victims and survivors of terrorism”.
Innocent Victims United spokesman Kenny Donaldson said: “As well as being the direct casualties of violence, this constituency of people have been the casualty of the peace process and they have continued to be the casualties of an immoral political process which has elevated terrorists/perpetrators whereby they now hold equation with those whom they wronged.
“Dealing with the past is not solely a political problem, it is a societal problem and victims must finally be treated with respect and dignity – the same respect and dignity that they have exemplified over so many years.
“Dr Haass must come out and prove himself to be independent from the local political process, he must not allow himself to be used as the ‘credible’ salesman for a deal hatched between local politicians.
“More of the same isn’t an option where victims are concerned and we pray that Mr Haass, Ms O’Sullivan and their team will propose measures which will restore some semblance of decency to this society where victims are punished no longer.”
Sinn Fein MLA Gerry Kelly said yesterday all parties had room for compromise and that progress was being made.
“As far as we’re concerned, anything that any of the parties want to put on the table, we will listen to it,” he said.
Alliance MP Naomi Long warned this week that the issue of dealing with the past may never be resolved if politicians fail to reach agreement.
TUV leader Jim Allister warned yesterday that limited immunity was “amnesty by another name”. He said the idea was unacceptable because it would bring “further perversion” to the justice system, deliver “another victory to the terrorist” and because it would “cause division among victims”.