It is telling that NI secretary felt unable to replace Thompson

News Letter editorial
News Letter editorial
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After making the right decision on the reinstatement of royal pictures in Stormont House, the NIO has then caused disappointment to a large section of the community.

The decision to re-appoint Judith Thompson as Victims’ Commissioner puts the NIO at odds with all the unionist political parties and most of the organisations that work with victims of terrorism.

This move by Julian Smith, the secretary of state, makes it look as if the royal portraits were announced to detract from the re-appointment of Ms Thompson the next day.

And while the portraits are of huge significance, and relate to matters of sovereignty and the right of governments to put up images of their head of state in their own property, it is reasonable to assume that at this point in time republicans would place greater store by keeping in post Ms Thompson, who does not feel she can make a distinction between victims and attackers injured by their own hand.

It is telling that Mr Smith felt unable to replace her, despite the fact the DUP props up his government, and despite a loss in confidence in her among a group of people whose support ought to be fundamental to her credibility.

This decision just paces all the more focus on what the government is planning on legacy overall. If it thinks it can push through barely noticed the Stormont House structures, or something akin to them with minor tweaks, perhaps as part of a local deal, it is in for a surprise.