I don’t accept Judith Thompson as victim commissioner. Do the DUP?

Judith Thompson, the victims' commissioner. Photo by William Cherry/Presseye
Judith Thompson, the victims' commissioner. Photo by William Cherry/Presseye
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I alike many other seriously injured victims was horrified at the position adopted by the victims commissioner Judith Thompson some weeks ago.

She suggested that those injured by their own hand whilst involved in acts of violence should also be beneficiaries of a new pension for the seriously injured.

Mervyn Lewers from Londonderry, an ex RUC officer who lost one leg through a Provisional IRA bomb in 1988 and his second leg in later years

Mervyn Lewers from Londonderry, an ex RUC officer who lost one leg through a Provisional IRA bomb in 1988 and his second leg in later years

This pension (or VASPA as it’s called) is supposedly designed to bring a level of reassurance and afford a sense of dignity for those left with life changing injuries such as my own.

The commissioner’s proposal has had the very opposite effect.

I have listened closely to the debate as it has unfolded over previous weeks and I have heard nothing from the commissioner, other than her efforts of justification for the stance she took.

The reality is that the overwhelming majority of those impacted by the Troubles were those who were the innocent victims of terrorism, whether committed by republicans or loyalists.

It is without question the case that the majority of us do not believe that terrorists should benefit from a special state pension intended for victims, the very suggestion is offensive.

A large number of victims groups publicly called for the commissioner to resign, and they were joined by several others in the days that followed.

Political parties also called for the commissioner to step down, all were agreed that she had failed to advocate on behalf of the majority of those she receives her £65,000 per year pay packet for.

I listened to one particular BBC Talkback debate where the DUP MP Emma Little-Pengelly who is the party’s spokesperson on victims and justice issues was pressed on whether she believed the commissioner needed to go.

Her response was that “the commissioner had still opportunity to do the right thing”.

The commissioner’s position has not altered one jot, so I am asking — as are many other innocent injured victims of terrorism — will Emma Little-Pengelly and her party now call for Judith Thompson to resign?

And if the commissioner refuses to do the right thing, will pressure be exerted on the UK government and NIO not to re-appoint her for a further term of office?

Political parties exist because of the support they receive at the polls and they are in place to advocate on behalf of the constituency they claim to represent.

I am asking for Emma Little-Pengelly and others not to fail me in the same way the commissioner has done.

It is also alarming that while the government has said bombers will not get pensions, ministers for some reason have not made that explicit in the legislation. Why? We struggle to understand, or believe, the rationale for this omission.

A special pension should be delivered for the benefit of the innocent, there should and must be no further political wrangling.

It is the very least we deserve. Surely we have already suffered enough injustice?

• Mervyn Lewers from Londonderry is an ex RUC officer who lost one leg through a Provisional IRA bomb in 1988 and his second leg in later years