Victims’ advocate told: Ditch Stormont House

Commissioner for Victims and Survivors Judith Thompson pictured at the City Hotel in Londonderry. DER2316GS025
Commissioner for Victims and Survivors Judith Thompson pictured at the City Hotel in Londonderry. DER2316GS025

The Commissioner for Victims and Survivors of Northern Ireland’s Troubles has been criticised for remaining “rooted in the Stormont House Agreement come what may”.

The commissioner, Judith Thompson, issued a statement yesterday calling on the British and Irish governments to deliver the institutions as agreed in the Stormont House Agreement.

Ms Thompson said: “The mechanisms that have been agreed should now be put in place for victims and survivors from all backgrounds to seek truth, justice, acknowledgement, reconciliation and reparations, according to their individual wishes. All they need is the political will and bravery to put them into action.”

However, Kenny Donaldson of Innocent Victims United (IVU), an umbrella organisation for 23 groups supporting some 11,500 victims and survivors, expressed disappointment with the commissioner’s statement.

“The reality is that events have moved on since that ‘Dis’Agreement’,” he said. “Innocent Victims United has repeatedly raised concerns around the architecture proposed within Stormont House.”

He explained: “We will not be party to raising the hopes of victims and survivors around investigating the evils inflicted in the past if we cannot see a genuine means for them to have their needs pursued and delivered on.”

He did say, however, that there were “numerous uncontested issues within Stormont House Agreement which could be moved forward with such as the mental health and trauma service, the historical timeline and potentially the pension for the seriously injured.”

He added: “The commission is out of touch with the IVU constituency.”