IVU responds to panel report on paramilitarism

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Innocent Victims United (IVU) is the largest umbrella organisation for innocent victims and survivors of terorism and other Troubles-related violence, with 23 member groups across Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland and Great Britain.

We have taken time to consider the contents of the Fresh Start Panel’s Report on the Disbandment of Paramilitary Groups in Northern Ireland, inclusive of the recommendations made by the panel members.

We do not question any member’s personal integrity nor their desire to contribute positively to the issues at hand however it requires saying that there are also harsh realities which the report fails to address, issues concerning the presence and active status of PIRA and also how this Society is to be re-balanced where the rights of victims trump the rights of terrorists and criminals, described by officialdom as paramilitaries.

It is striking the consideration given within this report to the need for ‘paramilitaries’ to be facilitated in their re-integration within society. There is overt and covert reference made to criminal records being expunged,

Past crimes committed by ‘paramilitaries’ being sanitised and diminished and the reference to such individuals having a role in educating our children without first demonstrating remorse and repentance is frankly bonkers.

Our society has been plagued by a terrorist campaign, an insurrection or as some falsely contend; set free by ‘revolution.’

The reality is this that for this society to break free from its violent history and present there is a necessity for those who wronged their neighbours to engage in a revolution of repentance. Without this happening, genuine reconciliation cannot ever be embedded.

Were this to happen then such individuals can have a role in educating our young people and of advising them that terror and criminal violence is futile, wrong and unjustified.

PIRA exists and many other permutations of alphabetic physical force republicanism exist.

The UVF, UDA and all their sister organisations also exist. These organisations do not exist for good, they are both criminal in theory and in practice. These organisations ravaged this community, their self appointed godfathers kept down the very people who they claimed they represented.

There can be no more facilitation of these organisations or what’s left of this society’s soul will be permanently forsaken.

Kenny Donaldson, IVU spokesman