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Naming of Victims Commissioner to be announced soon

By Noel McAdam

Published 22/07/2015

Oliver Wilkinson
Oliver Wilkinson

A new Victims Commissioner will be named in the near future, the First Minister and Deputy First Ministers' Office has announced. But after a gap of more than a year - following the dramatic resignation of Kathryn Stone - it is not clear when the new commissioner will take up the post.

Confirmation that a candidate has been selected came after the chair of the Victims and Survivors Service (VSS) strongly warned in the Belfast Telegraph against any further delay.

Oliver Wilkinson sounded alarm bells that the victims sector was beginning to "fracture" more than a year after Mrs Stone quit after 18 months in the job.

The recently confirmed chair of the VSS, which Mrs Stone had criticised two years ago as "not fit for purpose", said: "It is absolutely essential that an appointment is made as soon as possible. The longer we go on without one, the more fractured the victims' community is becoming.

"Victims need the opportunity to put their fears, concerns, anxieties and hopes forward and they need a strong champion who can do that and bring their message to politicians.

"I can understand there is a process to be gone through and it is important to get the right person."

In a statement yesterday, a spokesman for Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness' office said: "A number of people were interviewed for the Victims Commissioner post last week and a candidate was selected and agreed.

"An official announcement will be made in the coming days when all the relevant people have been informed and the necessary processes complete."

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