25/02/2005

Government considers role of Victims Commissioner

The Government has indicated it may be set to move on appointing a Victims Comissioner for Northern Ireland.

Following a question to Secretary of State Paul Murphy from DUP MP Jeffrey Donaldson during Northern Ireland Questions on Thursday, Mr Murphy said he saw “great merit” in proposals for such a role.

“I think that both the Honourable Gentleman [Mr Donaldson] and his party and other parties and other organisations and individuals and groups in Northern Ireland, have looked at the question of a Victims Commission,” Mr Murphy said.

“I also agree with him that the work which has been done by victims groups up and down Northern Ireland are enormously important in bringing about reconciliation in Northern Ireland.”

Welcoming Mr Murphy’s remarks, Mr Donaldson said the creation of such an office was a key aspect of the DUP’s agenda during recent negotiations.

“The DUP has long held the view that the innocent victims of terrorist violence need an independent voice who can act as a strong advocate on their behalf with Government and funders and liaise closely with victims groups across the Province. the Lagan Valley MP said.

Mr Murphy said he hoped to make an announcement on such a role in the near future.

(MB/SP)

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