Willie Frazer praises Victims Commissioner Stone

Victims Commissioner Kathryn Stone
Victims Commissioner Kathryn Stone

Controversial victims campaigner Willie Frazer has defended Victims Commissioner Kathryn Stone, who was recently at the centre of a row for declining to describe the IRA and UVF as terrorists.

In October, she caused controversy when asked by the News Letter if the IRA were terrorists. The commissioner said: “Well, and again the difficulty for me is that I know there are some people who believe absolutely that they were. There are others who believe absolutely that they weren’t.”

When again asked whether she believed the UVF were terrorists, Ms Stone just said: “Some people would say they were; others would say they weren’t.”

However, in a letter in today’s News Letter, Mr Frazer, spokesman for Markethill victims group FAIR, noted that in recent weeks there has been “considerable condemnation” of Ms Stone.

Mr Frazer said his group has found her to be “the best holder of the office of Commissioner for Victims and Survivors since the post was initially established”.

However, her ability to address victims issues is “severely curtailed by the current definition of a victim” which he said must be redefined urgently in legislation by local politicians.

Meanwhile, Innocent Victims United spokesman Kenny Donaldson branded as “hypocrisy” the comments from political leaders who described the Dublin and Monaghan bombs as “acts of terrorism” in the wake of controversial comments by Dr Ian Paisley.

Mr Donaldson added: “IVU fully agrees that those who wilfully took the lives of others were terrorists. So why, one can reasonably ask, is the term ‘terrorism’ not used within the Haass proposals to explain what occurred in over 90 per cent of ‘Troubles related killings’?”

He added: “Terrorism cannot and must not be placated through ‘removing’ or seeking to ‘equalise’ what occurred here.”