Jude Whyte: An acknowledgement criminality is unacceptable
These three organisations coming under the one roof is an incredible achievement in itself. I welcome this move, but I am also very mindful of the hundreds of victims created by these three groups' appalling actions.
You think of atrocities like McGurk's Bar, Loughinisland, the Miami Showband massacre. My mother, Peggy, was also a victim. She was killed in a bomb attack on April 12 1984, along with Michael Dawson. But that was yesterday, this is today.
Within the context of progress yesterday's statement has to be welcomed. I think they are sincere. Time will tell.
I still have my personal pain, as do my family. So do all the other victims. But I have to give something back to society. What I am trying to do is give these people a fair hearing and give my children something better to look forward to.
Yesterday was seismic in many respects. I addressed the PUP conference last Saturday and they made me feel very welcome. It was quite a step for them to invite me and for me to accept. But I detected sincerity on their part, a shift into politics permanently and, at last, open acknowledgement that criminality is now totally unacceptable.
I believe loyalists have more problems with their own community than they do with the nationalist community. So the fact that these three organisations could gather and make a joint statement is a huge step.