Belfast City Council is to be asked to investigate after 63 community groups in the city took out a full-page advert to praise a former IRA commander.
Their joint statement appeared on page 24 of Saturday’s Irish News, as well as online by Irish Republican News.
It describes recently- murdered IRA commender Gerard Davison a man who “put life and liberty at risk to defend his community”.
Some of the groups receive funding through the council. UUP councillor Jim Rodgers said his party group will now call on the chief executive to launch an probe into whether any groups breached council rules.
Kenny Donaldson of Innocent Victims United (an umbrella organisation for 23 victims groups) said many victims were shocked by the praise of Mr Davison.
“No-one espousing Christian beliefs should ever take glee in another human being’s death and we in IVU are clear that the murder of Jock Davison was entirely wrong,” he said. “But what we will not stand idly by and allow is the airbrushing of this individual’s Past whereby he is presented as a selfless Saint amongst men. These community groups, political representatives and others need to catch a grip.
“Mr Davison was not a ‘Commander’ of any Army - he was a godfather of Terrorism and upon his death remained unrepentant. We have been contacted by a large number of victims and survivors from across Northern Ireland (but particularly Belfast) who are absolutely shocked at the actions of supposed community groups and the endorsement of one particular group which receives resources to support ‘victims and survivors of The Troubles’ in sponsoring the sanitisation of someone’s life which included his participation in and support for terrorist-related activities”.