Unionist parties give full backing to terror victims' election wish list

The four main unionist parties have given their full backing to an election wish list by terror victims.

Wednesday, 4th May 2016, 4:06 pm
Updated Wednesday, 4th May 2016, 5:07 pm

The DUP, UUP, TUV and UKIP gave their full backing to Innocent Victims United’s (IVU) eight points while the SDLP gave partial backing.

Alliance has not yet taken a position, but only saw the eight points yesterday afternoon.

The issues were discussed at a recent IVU hustings event in Cookstown attended by Jeffrey Donaldson (DUP), Sandra Overend (UUP), Jim Allister (TUV) and Brian Higginson (UKIP).

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SDLP councillor Denise Mullen, whose father was murdered by loyalists, gave her full personal support to the list, however her party did not. Alliance was invited but failed to send a representative, sending apologies instead.

The party has previously accepted the current legal definition of victimhood.

Kenny Donaldson, IVU spokesman, said: “Within our opening address we presented eight core needs for IVU’s constituency of victims and survivors and we secured the full backing of the TUV, UKIP and DUP representatives on these issues, with the SDLP and UUP representatives also associating themselves with the content and committing to liaise with their party leaderships around IVU’s agenda for change”.

The UUP later backed the eight points in full.

IVU’s eight demands of the parties are:-

1) To strengthen glorification of terrorism laws;

2) Examine the imbalance in legal aid for Troubles-related legal actions;

3) A special pension for seriously injured victims which would bar perpetrators;

4) Reinstatement of married UDR widow pensions;

5) A change to the legal definition of a victim;

6) A permanent block on a ‘Conflict Transformation Centre’ at the Maze prison site;

7) Replace victims’ Peace IV funding in the event of Brexit;

8) Support Libyan compensation for Gaddafi-sponsored IRA terror victims. Also, secure finance for their advocacy, health and well-being.

The DUP firmly backed all eight points, a spokesman adding that Maze development should be “inviting and welcoming to all” and therefore past proposals would not secure unionist support.

The DUP therefore “will not be supporting any Conflict Transformation Centre on the site”, he said.

Mrs Overend said: “I was more than happy to attend the IVU hustings event in Cookstown and confirm the Ulster Unionist Party’s support for the aims and core needs which IVU articulated on the night.”

TUV Strangford Assembly candidate Stephen Cooper said many of the points were in his party’s manifesto but he was happy to support them all.

The TUV has already delivered Ann’s Law to prevent convicted terrorists from becoming Stormont special advisors; secured pension parity for remarried RUC widows, and opposed “the Maze shrine”.

UKIP’s David McNarry strongly backed all eight points.

He added: “Our people deserve swift closure. It is appalling to treat innocent victims with contempt and callousness.”

Sinn Fein did not offer any comment.