Stormont crisis: Thank goodness for a party with backbone, says Ann Travers

Willie Frazer backed the planned UUP withdrawal and said he hoped other parties would follow suit
Willie Frazer backed the planned UUP withdrawal and said he hoped other parties would follow suit

Victims’ campaigners Ann Travers and Willie Frazer have both strongly backed plans by the UUP to resign from the Executive over Sinn Fein links with PIRA.

However, Innocent Victims United has not taken any specific stance on the move.

Ann Travers, whose sister Mary was murdered by the IRA in 1984, backed the UUP.

“Thank goodness there is a political party with a backbone,” she told the News Letter. “It was the right thing to do, it’s immoral to dismiss any murder as ‘housekeeping’ – murder is murder and if the IRA were responsible the UUP had no other option. I await with interest to see how many more backbones there are in the Executive.”

Campaigner Willie Frazer supported her view.

“At long last it seems that our political representatives are taking genuine steps to bring genuine peace,” he said. “As we have always said these bullies need to be confronted and this tolerance that there seems to be with terrorists running this country while they still have an armed campaign in the background had to be challenged and put down once and for all.

“Before Sinn Fein starts to threaten about the dark old days, a clear message has to be sent both from the British and Irish governments that they will not be allowed to take it down that path.

“As victims we have always said that we support peace, but it has to be a genuine peace and not this charade that has been allowed to continue over the past number of years. We hope that this is the first party and that the rest will follow suit.

“Before anyone says that Sinn Fein has a mandate we would like to remind them that Hitler also had one and like Hitler, Adams and McGuinness have no right to use the threat of violence as a tool to get their own way.”

But Kenny Donaldson of Innocent Victims United took no position.

“It is up to individual political parties to take whatever steps they view necessary in building a political system which has integrity,” he said.

“IVU has been clear that those who comprise our government should be political parties and politicians who oppose terrorism and violence (past and present). We reiterate our call for a formal statement to be made by both governments along with all the terrorist organisations and their political voices which confirms that in the Northern Ireland context ‘the use of violence was never and will never be justified in the furtherance of or defence of a political objective’.”