Kenny Donaldson: We welcome reports of victim papers but still have concerns about legacy structures

Letter to the editor
Letter to the editor

In recent days there has been fresh speculation that a paper was passed over the duration of recent talks between the DUP and the provisional movement.

We give a cautious welcome to the statement made by the DUP leader, Arlene Foster.

She stated that a paper had been exchanged with Sinn Fein on the “treatment of innocent victims”.

The proposed parameters of the Historical Investigations Unit (HIU) and Independent Commission on Information Retrieval (ICIR) will not deliver anything tangible for the overwhelming majority of innocent victims of terrorism.

We have asked for a commitment that in meeting the fundamentals of equality that all cases, irrespective of whether or not they’d previously been reviewed by Historical Enquiries Team (HET) would have an investigation.

We also continue to ask that government examines housing the coronial inquest system within the new HIU structure. The legal advices we have obtained states that this is possible so why does it remain external from the new HIU structure?

In short it is better to develop no further legacy structures (HIU, ICIR or Implentation and Reconciliation Group — IRG) unless there is a means to deliver for the innocent.

Crucially we have lobbied for a statement of wrongs to be signed up to by the proscribed terrorist organisations, UK and Republic of Ireland states.

If achieved then this would act as the foundation stone for further sustainable progress to occur.

We are however unclear as to the content and obviously we are aware that no formalised agreement was made on such proposals by the DUP, the provisional movement and the UK government.

Innocent Victims United (IVU) has campaigned vociferously since the development phase of Eames-Bradley, pointing out the justice deficit experienced by innocent victims/survivors of terrorism and calling for legacy processes which will genuinely hold terrorism accountable.

We have campaigned for public debate around the need for change to the government’s definition of victim which has caused and continues to cause huge distress to the innocent.

We have campaigned for resolution to the former Libyan regime’s sponsoring of PIRA terrorism, the stand-off on pensions for innocents who were seriously injured and we have also urged for more robust legislation concerning the glorification of terrorism and a will to prosecute once breaches are made.

And we have implored the government to fully implement the mental trauma based service previously committed to she which has saw little meaningful progress.

If these issues were within those papers then we welcome efforts made to advance them and if they weren’t then we ask, why not?

Kenny Donaldson, IVU Spokesman, Lisnaskea, South Fermanagh