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Appeal over ‘multiple’ victims commissioners fails

A woman whose parents were murdered by the IRA has lost her appeal over the appointment of four victims commissioners in Northern Ireland.

Michelle Williamson, who lost both parents in the 1993 bomb attack on Belfast’s Shankill Road, was challenging a ruling that Ian Paisley and Martin McGuinness broke no laws by bringing multiple representatives into the post.

Her lawyers said the Deputy First Minister and former First Minister cloaked the process in secrecy, with candidates identified on the basis of religion or political opinion rather than merit.

But senior judges in the Court of Appeal upheld a decision to dismiss her |judicial review case.

They ruled there was no evidence that the heads of the Stormont power-|sharing executive were motivated by improper political considerations or had acted unlawfully.

Their decision provoked dismay among victims’ campaigners who immediately vowed to take the case to the Supreme Court in London.

“We have now got a government where people can make decisions behind closed doors, kick the civil servants out, have no paper trail and nobody can hold them to account,” Willie Frazer, of victims’ group Families Acting for Innocent Relatives, said.

“This is bigger than the whole victim’s issue, this is about the future government of Northern Ireland.”

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