07/08/2008

£36m For Victims' Strategy

Members of the Northern Ireland Executive have unveiled plans for a £36million victims' money pot, set aside to deal with the needs brought forward by sufferers of the Troubles.

The strategy has outlined a blueprint of how those sitting around the Executive table hope to deal with the sensitive issue of victims.

The plans include the formation of three main bodies. A Victims' Commission, already a controversial area; a Victims' Forum; and a Victims' Service.
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Sinn Fein Junior Minister Gerry Kelly said: "We want to ensure that future support and services are shaped by victims and survivors. It is important that everyone with an interest in victims’ and survivors’ issues read this draft document carefully and gives us their views."

Mr Kelly’s DUP counterpart Jeffery Donaldson said: "Today marks another important step forward for the Executive. We have said since the restoration of devolution that we would make victims and survivors a priority for this administration.

"We hope that this document will help to move us on the road to making a real difference to the lives of those who have been most affected by the events here over the last 40 years."

Since the appointment of four Victims' Commissioners earlier this year, an ongoing debate has emerged over the definition of a 'victim'.

The draft proposals have already been discussed at Committee level at Stormont and will now go out for a 12-week public consultation.

(PR)

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