04/09/2009

'Victims' Wing It To Scotland

The contentious issue of dealing with the NI Troubles' legacy is to be discussed - across the Irish Sea.

A Scottish hotel has been chosen for a meeting of almost 30 victims and relatives of those hurt in the Troubles to discuss the needs of those affected during decades of violence.

The newly announced Victims Forum flew straight into controversy as the body's first session to discuss Northern Ireland is to be outside the country.

However, BBC NI relates today that Victims Commission sources said this is because local hotels "had difficulty accommodating a group with so many wheelchair users".

The controversial Victims Forum will be asked for their views on how a victim should be defined and how Northern Ireland should deal with its past.

Their advice will be offered to the Stormont Executive and the Victims Commission itself.

The group is to include former members of the security forces, a former IRA prisoner and victims of loyalist violence.

They include Michael McKinney whose brother William was shot dead by soldiers on Bloody Sunday, Alan McBride whose wife and father-in-law died in the IRA's Shankill Road bombing, and Willie Frazer who campaigns for victims of IRA violence, such as those killed in the Omagh bomb atrocity, (pictured).
News Image
Others include Catherine McCartney, whose brother Robert was beaten to death outside a Belfast bar two years ago, and Mark Thompson whose Relatives for Justice group has focussed on state violence.

Michael Culbert is a former IRA prisoner who was sentenced to 16 years in jail for killing a police officer.

The initial session in Scotland is thought to be a more informal gathering however, with the body's first actual session set to take place in Belfast later this month.

SDLP Equality Spokesperson Alex Attwood has welcomed the formation of the forum but said it must be 'wary' on the outcome of victims' issues.

"The SDLP believe the forum and the Victims Commissioners should acknowledge a potential threat to the truth and justice for many victims and survivors.

"The present British government consultation on the Eames and Bradley proposals may be framed to produce a minimum outcome, one that serves the interests of the IRA, UDA and UVF and elements in society, such as the old RUC, the British Army and others.

"Such a minimum outcome will have little to do with the disclosure of the past and the exposure of those who lead the grave wrong-doings," he said.

See: Eames-Bradley Proposals Slammed

(BMcC/KMcA)

Related Northern Ireland News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

28 January 2005
Belfast to hold international Human Rights conference
A major conference, bringing together over 20 international human rights leaders from 12 countries, will take place in Belfast this weekend.
16 January 2020
Former SF President 'Emotional' At Standing Down
Former Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams has told of his emotion at stepping down as Louth TD. The former NI MP and MLA will not seek re-election to Ireland's Dáil in the general election next month. Mr Adams held the position of Sinn Fein president from 1983 to 2018.
11 March 2020
Match Postponed As Linfield Player Contracts Coronavirus
Linfield's next fixture has been postponed after a player tested positive for coronavirus. The club was due to play Larne in a Danske Bank Premiership match this Saturday, however officials say the match will no longer go ahead. This follows an announcement on Tuesday that the footballer had contracted the virus. He is now self-isolating.
28 January 2005
Belfast ‘Big Two’ drawn together in cross-border cup
Belfast’s ‘Big Two’ have been drawn together in the new cross-border Setanta Cup. Both Linfield and Glentoran have been drawn in the same group as FAI Cup winners Longford for the new tournament which begins in March. In the other group Portadown face Eircom League winners Shelbourne and Cork with all games being played on a home and away basis.
01 September 2009
Libya Hints At Gun-Running Compensation
Long-awaited recognition of Tripoli's involvement in IRA terrorism has moved a step closer.