Do not ‘relegate’ victims, Troubles campaigner tells Executive

Kenny Donaldson warned politicians not to lose focus on victims' issues
Kenny Donaldson warned politicians not to lose focus on victims' issues

A campaign group has accused the Executive of paying only “superficial” attention to Troubles victims.

Innocent Victims United (IVU), made the claim after the deadline expired last week for the public to have their say on the draft Programme for Government.

This is the Sinn Fein and DUP-led Executive’s blueprint for how Northern Ireland should be run in the years ahead.

IVU said that the 114-page document was an illustration of “a concerning trend of ambivalence” towards victims’ issues in government.

In a statement, its spokesman Kenny Donaldson said the programme contained only “superficial referencing of victim and survivor issues”.

There are 14 “outcomes” which the document sets out, plus a series of “indicators” setting out how these outcomes could be measured.

Mr Donaldson noted that Outcome Eight reads: “We care for others and we help those in need.”

Under this heading, it adds: “One important aspect of this is addressing historical institutional abuse, the needs of victims and survivors and other issues associated with our past.”

Mr Donaldson said: “We submit that the needs of victims and survivors of terrorism and ‘Troubles related criminal violence’ should be a standalone objective with quantifiable measurements recording how success will be known in how victim’s needs are supported.

“Victims and survivors are becoming increasingly concerned that their needs and issues are once again being relegated.”

He added that, with Brexit now dominating much of the political agenda, politicians must nonetheless not “lose focus” of Troubles’ victims’ issues.