Dear Madam, - Interviews for the post of Commissioner for Victims and Survivors are said to have been completed and we’re over one year on since the previous Commissioner, Kathryn Stone’s departure but it is worth reflecting on the Statutory responsibilities a Commissioner is said to have: The Commissioner shall promote an awareness of matters relating to the interests of victims and survivors and of the need to safeguard those interests.

The Commissioner shall keep under review the adequacy and effectiveness of law and practice affecting the interests of victims and survivors.

Clearly there is a requirement for the Commissioner to use his/her influence to initiate debate and advocate change in law if current provisions are having a detrimental impact upon the interests and one could infer; wellbeing of victims and survivors.

The cancer that needs dealt with by the Commissioner is the statutory ‘legal’ definition of victim/survivor. We assert that the greater majority of the people of Northern Ireland (and the overwhelming majority of directly affected victims/survivors) oppose the current law on the basis of its immorality and ‘politically motivated construct.’ Government must provide the people of Northern Ireland with the opportunity to voice their views on the current definition of victim through holding a Public Referendum and the Commissioner would have a key role in facilitating that debate. IVU also believes that those who were affected by the ‘Troubles’ who reside in Great Britain, Republic of Ireland, Mainland Europe and elsewhere should have opportunity to become engaged in the debate.

IVU accepts that there are individuals who engaged in acts of terrorism, their families and also individuals within the security forces who stepped outside the law, engaging in acts of criminality along with their associated families who require support around areas of mental health and wellbeing and welfare. We furthermore accept that there are a number of former terrorists who have committed themselves to a new life, who have repented of their crimes and who have demonstrated genuine remorse. Such individuals can have a future out of the darkness to which they fell foul.

However what we do not and will not accept is the revisionist theory of those who engaged in acts of criminality against their neighbour Protestant, Roman Catholic and Dissenter being re-calibrated as ‘victims.’ There must finally be an acceptance across the board within political but also civic structures that the use of terrorism and violence in the furtherance of or defence of a ‘so-called political objective’ was never and can never be justified. If that fundamental were agreed then a very new dispensation would be in place to deal with the Past. The Commissioner for Victims and Survivors could fulfil the job that they really need to do.

Yours faithfully, Kenny Donaldson Innocent Victims United Lisnaskea