New commissioner for victims revealed

First Minister Peter Robinson and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness have announced the appointment of Judith Thompson as the new Commissioner for Victims and Survivors for Northern Ireland
First Minister Peter Robinson and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness have announced the appointment of Judith Thompson as the new Commissioner for Victims and Survivors for Northern Ireland

A new Victims’ Commissioner has been appointed to post, more than a year after the previous one announced she was leaving.

Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness jointly announced on Thursday that the new head for the Commission for Victims and Survivors will be Judith Thompson.

Originally from Stockport in England, she came to Northern Ireland in 1984 to work as a probation officer.

The currently works for Skills for Justice, part of the JSSC charitable group.

The announcement comes after previous commissioner Kathryn Stone (also from England) announced her departure in April last year.

Ms Stone’s refusal to use the word “terrorist” to describe many of the Troubles perpetrators caused controversy among some victims.

The TUV said that, whatever the new commissioner’s skills, the system in which she will have to operate is flawed.

Councillor Ruth Wilson said in a statement: “The 2006 Victims and Survivors Order draws no distinction between the innocent victim caught up in a terrorist attack while going about their normal business and the bomber who goes out with murder in his heart and is injured by his own explosion.

“This perversion of the very notion of justice is repugnant to all innocent victims. Yet it is within the framework of this legislation that the Commissioner will be expected to operate.”

More to follow.