The DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds MP made notable comments in parliament last week on legacy matters.
These were encouraging words from the party’s Westminster leader concerning the need for the military covenant to be applied equally across the United Kingdom and the need for a UK-wide definition of victim of terrorism.
Men and women from Northern Ireland have served and continue to serve the Crown and UK state within the security forces, they do so alike their counterparts across England, Scotland and Wales and just as veterans from across Great Britain have access to the rights contained within the military covenant, so too must NI-based veterans enjoy those rights — this is a matter of equality.
There must be an end to the politicisation of our veterans and their practical needs across welfare, health and well-being, housing etc.
Meanwhile the continuance of the 2006 definition of victim as laid out in the Northern Ireland Order is wilful state sponsorship of a rewrite of the past.
The definition infects the environment in which victims issues operate.
Whilst welcoming Nigel Dodds’ remarks, the real test will be that in the expected negotiations the DUP will have/or indeed are having with the Conservative and Unionist Party concerning an extension to the ‘Demand and Supply deal’ that these issues are not merely asks or appeals but rather are cast iron commitments given with timelines attached.
Northern Ireland must finally be lifted up from the place it has fallen due to two plus decades of political appeasement of the Provisional republican movement and terrorism across the board.
South East Fermanagh Foundation (SEFF) and Innocent Victims United (IVU) initiated the call for a UK-wide definition of victim of terrorism to be developed and we implore government to heed that call and set about implementing change, which would have a transformative impact upon our society.
Kenny Donaldson, Director of Services, SEFF, Lisnaskea