TUV has announced that the party’s annual conference will have a focus on innocent victims this year. Speaking ahead of the event leader Jim Allister said:
“2013 has been a year when victims’ issues, after being forgotten and ignored for much too long have come to the fore. The innocent victims of IRA terrorism have found their voice and had a profound impact on the political process. In recent days the views of victims were crucial when it came to forcing a major U-Turn by the DUP when it came to the Maze shrine. Information which has emerged in the last few days about the number of visits to the site organised by DUP MLAs and MPs gives something of an insight into the selling operation engaged in by the party. Thankfully victims saw through the spin.
“Earlier in the year with the successful passage of Ann’s Law the rights and feelings of victims of the Troubles were recognised in legislation for the first time since the passage of the Belfast Agreement.
“It is largely because of the courageous stand of Ann Travers that victims have, after being ignored and marginalised for 15 years, found their voice so we are delighted that she has agreed to be part of a victims’ panel at the conference.
“Joining Ann on the panel will be Serena Hamilton whose father, an off duty UDR man, was shot in the back by two IRA gunmen when Serena was just 7 years old.
“John Radley, who was seriously injured in the 1981 Chelsea Barracks bomb, will also be on the panel. John was a 21-year-old lance corporal in the Irish Guards when he was nearly killed by an IRA nail bomb which Paul Kavanagh was convicted of. Kavanagh recently lost his job as a Special Adviser to co-First Minister McGuinness as a result of Ann’s Law.
“Completing the line-up will be Julie Hambleton. Ms Hambleton’s sister Maxine was murdered by the IRA in the 1974 Birmingham pub bombing. She has been active in the Justice4the21 campaign which calls for a new inquiry into the bombings. The campaign has also exposed Sinn Fein hypocrisy by picketing a number of events attended by Republicans in recent days.”
NB: The conference will be held the Royal Hotel, Cookstown on Saturday 30th November.