Lord Empey: The choice of Victims’ Commissioner choice will be an early test for Julian Smith

If the new secretary of state Julian Smith, seen above in Northern Ireland late last month after his appointment, reappoints Judith Thompson as Victims' Commissioner, he will be endorsing her view that a pension should be paid to terrorists injured by their own hand.    Picture by Matt Mackey / Press Eye
If the new secretary of state Julian Smith, seen above in Northern Ireland late last month after his appointment, reappoints Judith Thompson as Victims' Commissioner, he will be endorsing her view that a pension should be paid to terrorists injured by their own hand. Picture by Matt Mackey / Press Eye
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It is inconceivable that with less than three weeks to go until the end of the current term of office of the Victims’ Commissioner, Judith Thompson, the Northern Ireland Office hasn’t already held a process to either reappoint or replace Ms Thompson.

The commissioner has shocked many victims and survivors, the general public and some political parties with her assertion that the pension that Parliament has decided to make available to victims and survivors could also be made available to those who were injured by their own hand during the ‘Troubles.’

Letter to the editor

Letter to the editor

During the passage of the legislation through Parliament, it was made abundantly clear that the pension could only be paid to genuine victims and not to those terrorists who were responsible for a reign of terror lasting over thirty years.

I can think of nothing worse than to imagine that someone who was injured as they planted a bomb designed to kill another person should receive taxpayers’ money in the same manner as their intended target.

This is an early test for Julian Smith MP, our new secretary of state.

If he reappoints Judith Thompson to the role of commissioner, he will be endorsing her view that the pension should also be available to those who staged attacks.

This is totally unacceptable.

He should make it clear that she will leave her role on 31st August as scheduled.

Lord Empey, Ulster Unionist peer, House of Lords