Innocent Victims United (IVU) has taken some time to consider events of recent days following the publication of a report into the status of terrorist organisations.
For those we represent it is an indictment of our political system that seemingly Sinn Fein/IRA are enabled to dictate the terms of how Northern Ireland is governed.
The old chestnut trotted out by Sinn Fein – we have a mandate holds no water.
Hitter had a mandate and so did the proponents of slavery – that didn’t make any of that right.
The political system and society must assume an overall guardianship role on the type of governance desired for this region of the United Kingdom.
The four Northern Ireland Executive political parties should be insisting upon Sinn Fein’s expulsion from the NI Policing Board whilst PIRA’s structures remain and where there is a direct influencing role of the policies of Sinn Fein which has three representatives on that Policing Board – whether that’s the DOJ Minister, the Secretary of State or others who have the remit to do so.
We have repeatedly insisted that for Northern Ireland to have any prospect of a sustainable and peaceful future minus the terror that devastated the community that there is firstly a need for a formal accord to be agreed by the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland (ROI) states, supported by the Stormont government and accepted by the proscribed terrorist organisations that in the context of Northern Ireland that there is not and was not a justification for the use of criminal violence in the furtherance of or defence of a political objective.
Secondly we have insisted that 21 years on from the first PIRA ceasefires that all vestiges of terror and criminality can only be dealt with by the criminal justice system – that political parties comprising our government must be free from the direction, influence and finance of such illegality.
The political system has lowered the bar of common decency and natural law and order has been sacrificed to placate those who disrespect the sanctity of life and overall rule of law and we have and continue to suffer as a society because of this.
The UK and ROI States must belatedly recognise the reckless way in which they have managed our peace and political processes and there must once and for all come an insistency for IVU’s calls to be delivered (which we suggest have strong support from across the greater majority of the community).
Terror victims have had their lives ravaged by terrorists (whether republican or loyalist) and that can’t be undone but the political system can ensure that going forward that their lives and the lives of others cease to be the property and dictat of terror and mafia-esque organisations who effectively hold a veto upon this Country’s future.
PIRA, INLA, UDA, UVF and every other self-appointed organisation whose members covered their faces and went out to terrorise their neighbours need to go through a process of 3 ‘R’s’ – express remorse, show repentance and engage in restitutive acts.
If they were to commit to this then very many people (including victims and survivors) would feel an ability to see such individuals as being part of a country moving forward.
However if the lies and denials which have been commonplace persist then healing will remain denied to the innocent as well as society in its’ broader context.
• Kenny Donaldson is spokesperson for Innocent Victims United