Statement by TUV leader Jim Allister:
“I welcome today’s news that the DUP are backing the Charter for Innocent Victims of Terrorism – albeit a full four months after other Unionists did.
“When the Charter was launched I commented:
“How can Mr Donaldson and others in the DUP claim that the Centre will contain a balanced and truthful account of the Troubles when innocent victims of Republican violence are united in their opposition to the plan and will have nothing to do with it?
“Understandably the Charter makes it clear that a project which will “provide the means for terrorists to return to the Maze as “victims”, educationalists and quite possibly tour guides – self-cleansing them of their heinous crimes” is totally unacceptable to innocent victims.
“This isn’t the claim of TUV or the political opponents of the DUP but rather the innocent victims of Republican terrorism.
“The DUP claim they have a veto on anything that goes on at the Maze. Today’s event makes it clear that innocent victims of the IRA campaign want them to use that veto to put a halt to the “Conflict Transformation Centre”.
“The united stand of victims’ groups against the Provo project at the Maze was a huge factor in turning the tide of popular opinion against the project and it is time the DUP acknowledged that deal they attempted to foist on the people of Northern Ireland was flawed from the outset.
“I’m glad that I can say I supported the Charter four months ago, not just as of yesterday.
“But it will be interesting to see if government does indeed implement the Charter in full. Terms such as “conflict” and “combatant” to describe the terrorist campaign and the terrorists who engaged in it are all too often employed. For example, a research paper from January 2012 funded by OFMdFM and on their website today talks about “former combatants and former political prisoners”, “political prisoner and combatant groups” (see here http://www.ofmdfmni.gov.uk/incore_progressing_good_relations_and_reconciliation.pdf).
“Let’s hope that now the DUP Junior Minister in the Department has publically backed the Charter he will ensure that this will not happen again – as it has previously on his watch.”