Statement by TUV leader Jim Allister:
“Kathryn Stone’s comments in today’s News Letter confirm what I have suspected for some time – that she is supremely unfit to represent the needs and interests of innocent victims. For her to refuse to say whether the IRA – which butchered almost 1,700 people– or the UVF – who slaughtered almost 400 people – were terrorists is completely unacceptable and reveals her total inability to stand up for innocent victims.
“This is something which I have noticed in the past when she failed to come out in support of Ann’s Law which received support right across the groups representing the victims of terrorism. Similarly her position on the Conflict Centre at the Maze is a total copout.
“Additionally her support for the toxic Eames-Bradley proposals will dismay many innocent victims who campaigned vigorously to see them binned. The fact that she has suggested “revisiting” the Report in the Haass talks proves that TUV was correct to provide the Haass team with our response to the Eames-Bradley report as our submission on what the political establishment have decided to label “the past”.
“The unacceptable nature of Eames-Bradley was not limited to the proposed “recognition payment” which would go to terrorists as well as genuine victims. Rather the failure of the report to draw a distinction between the victim and the victim maker ran through the entirety of its recommendations.
“The simple fact is that Eames-Bradley operated on the same flawed definition of “victim” which Ms Stone operates with. This renders its proposals totally unacceptable. For example, it would be totally unacceptable to have a shared memorial or shared day of reflection as the Shankill bomber would be commemorated alongside his victims.
“Remember too that the Report said:
“The very demand for justice can mitigate against the main goal of reconciliation…. A long and determined pursuit of penal justice could be viewed as a means of continuing the conflict rather than enabling healing” (page 58);
“Individuals participating in storytelling projects must be able to tell their story freely in a private context, but should be able to omit information which may put them at risk – either from prosecution or retaliation – before their story is put in the public domain” (page 99) and
“At the end of its mandate the Commission would make recommendations on how a line might be drawn so that Northern Ireland may best move to a shared future. This might embrace a procedure whereby historical cases, including those against ‘on the runs’, would no longer be actively pursued” (page 126).
“The vast, vast majority of innocent victims want nothing to do with such proposals and for the Commissioner to suggest that they are starting point is totally unacceptable.
“The News Letter is to be commended for asking the questions which really matter to victims and exposing Kathryn Stone. Now we all know that she is totally unfit for her job. She should go and go now. If she doesn’t she should be removed by co-First Minister Robinson”.