DUP seeks ‘victim terrorist’ ban

Letter writer challenges William McCrea's definition of a terrorist
Letter writer challenges William McCrea's definition of a terrorist

The DUP has pledged to seek a UK-wide definition of a victim which excludes terrorist perpetrators.

South Antrim Westminster candidate William McCrea said the party will use its influence in a hung parliament in an attempt to secure the concession.

He said: “It is immoral that the current definition places the perpetrator and the victim on a par.

“It is unacceptable that the terrorist pulling the trigger should be treated the same way as the innocent victim.”

The DUP held the most seats of any Northern Ireland party in the last parliamentary mandate. It has published a list of demands in exchange for forming part of a coalition after the General Election, including scrapping the so-called bedroom tax on benefits claimants.

The Victims and Survivors (Northern Ireland) Order 2006 said a victim was someone who is or has been physically or psychologically injured as a result of or in consequence of a conflict-related incident; someone who provides substantial care to an injured person or someone who has been bereaved.

It did not refer to perpetrators.

The DUP has sought to change this at Westminster and Stormont through Private Members’ Bills. Due to a lack of support from the nationalist SDLP and opposition from Sinn Fein, this matter has not been able to be progressed, Mr McCrea said.

He added: “I’m delighted that Northern Ireland is moving forward and the daily diet of bombings and shootings that once filled our news bulletins has now almost ended.

“I’m glad we’re in a better place where families, on a daily basis, are not suffering because their loved one has been murdered through an act of terrorism.

“However, we must never forget the victims who are still hurting. The current definition is unfair and an insult towards innocent victims.”

Legislation has already been passed in Northern Ireland barring anyone with a serious criminal conviction from holding a top job at Stormont’s devolved assembly.

The Civil Service Special Advisers (Spad) Bill prevents ex-prisoners who were jailed for five years or more from becoming highly paid political advisers at Stormont.

It was brought forward after former IRA prisoner Mary McArdle was appointed to assist Sinn Fein culture minister Caral Ni Chuilin.

The DUP proposal would mean that relatives of republican and loyalist paramilitaries killed in the conflict would be banned from seeking compensation.

Sinn Fein has previously said there should be “no hierarchy of victims” and drawn attention to those affected by British state violence.