Margaret McGuckin from the SAVIA lobby group said today’s meeting with Mr Smith was “wonderful”, admitting that before it she had been ready to step down after a series of frustrations.
She said: “He is the first secretary of state we’ve ever met that has a genuineness about him. We certainly don’t think he’s a ‘yes’ man or that he’ll be used as a puppet. He is his own man.
“He was up to speed on all of our campaigning and lobbying for 12 years – that meant everything.
“He told us that the (victims) legislation is ready to go and all he’s waiting for is that open slot.
“We felt very positive after the meeting.”
Mr Smith described the meeting with victims and survivors as “good” while committing to meet the group on a monthly basis.