Billy Hutchinson’s actions were neither for God nor Ulster, says victims’ champion

A UVF mural in Belfast.
A UVF mural in Belfast.

A victims’ campaigner has said that PUP leader Billy Hutchinson’s murderous actions stand in stark contrast to those of Protestant victims of the IRA who steadfastly refused to meet murder with murder.

Kenny Donaldson of Innocent Victims United said that Mr Hutchinson’s attempted justification of his murders “bore all the hallmarks of the same sick delusional thinking that is prevalent within the republican movement”.

In an interview with the News Letter published this week, Mr Hutchinson said he regretted all deaths but then went on to suggest that his victims were not innocent and that UVF murders had helped prevent a united Ireland.

Referring to the UVF slogan ‘For God and Ulster’, Mr Donaldson said: “Nothing that the UVF did was for the advancement of Ulster and the perpetration of criminal terrorist acts against neighbours was certainly not in the name of God...His trite comment ‘I wouldn’t expect middle-class unionists to agree with what I did’ is deeply insulting. Believing in the sanctity of life and being opposed to murder is not an issue which breaks down on the lines of social class.

“In border areas of Northern Ireland such as south east Fermanagh the minority community was systematically targeted by republican terrorists with 35 Protestants murdered yet none of those families affected nor the wider Protestant community sought to avenge the hurt and trauma inflicted. Why? Because they refused to bring to a neighbour’s door what had been brought to their own.”

Meanwhile, DUP MLA Paul Givan has also denounced the comments. He said: “Mr Hutchinson thinks that it is only middle-class unionists who would not agree with his actions. Such a claim has the disgraceful inference that murder is supported by working-class Protestants and unionists. There is simply no evidence for such a claim.”