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'These academics are just playing with our lives'

Published 17/09/2015

Raymond McCord
Raymond McCord
Briege Voyle
Willie Frazer
Ann Travers
Michael Gallagher
Seanna Walsh

Raymond McCord's son, Raymond jnr (22), was beaten to death by the UVF in 1997

"Police collusion was proven in my son's murder in the O'Loan Report in 2007, yet no police officers have yet been charged. I wasn't satisfied listening as they didn't say whether there was going to be amnesty or not. I want to know that if people come with information relating to murders they were involved in, will they be given amnesty? They didn't answer my question. It's simple. Victims want justice and they want to know if there is anything going to be put in the way to stop that."

Briege Voyle's mother, Joan Connolly (44), was one of 12 people killed by the Army in the Ballymurphy Massacre in 1971

"My mother was out looking for me when I was 14. She was shot in the face while trying to help another young lad and was branded as some kind of a gunwoman. I asked if any organisation will ever tell me who killed my mother, and what support would be given to victims after they received such information. I want to know, will I be told the names of the soldiers, will I meet them face to face? I think that will never happen now in case their lives are endangered as a result."

Willie Frazer's part-time UDR soldier father, Bertie, was killed by the Provisional IRA in 1975

"You (the members of the conference panel) keep bringing up the Disappeared and how that process worked, but you cannot compare that with the process to get justice for people in Northern Ireland. What happened with the Disappeared was a complete and utter disgrace, and nobody was ever prosecuted out of that. I am being told by our politicians that they have not agreed to the Stormont House Agreement. I have heard nothing yet from a victims' perspective that encourages me."

Ann Travers' sister, Mary, was shot dead outside a church by the Provisional IRA in an attack aimed at her magistrate father, Tom Travers, in 1984

"I wasn't invited to the conference. Amnesty is still the main issue. Families are being emotionally blackmailed to accept this form of amnesty or (they won't) get answers. Who do these academics think they are, playing with our lives and justice for our loved ones? The dead still have their human right to justice. No one has the right to remove that. Willie Frazer is wrong in that this Implementation Bill is not happening as they are hoping to have the Bill through by October."

Michael Gallagher lost his only son, Aiden, in the 1998 Omagh bombing carried out by the Real IRA, which claimed the lives of 29 people and two unborn babies

"The Independent Commission on Information Retrieval will be bound not to disclose information provided to it to by law enforcement or intelligence agencies, and information will be inadmissible in criminal and civil proceedings. For me, this is going to send a message to the dissident republicans that you can do whatever you want and at the end of the process the Government will give in. Justice must be done no matter how long (it takes)."

Seanna Walsh is an IRA veteran who was jailed on three occasions. He claims he and other prisoners were tortured

"I understand that the main focus has been around Article Two on the right to life, but Article Three is also mentioned and that's about torture. I want to know where torture fits in, particularly when you consider that 85% of the prisoners between 1975-1989 were sentenced on the basis of forced confessions. There's also the issue of torture while in prison between 1976-1981, which culminated in the hunger strike. That's part of the jigsaw that needs to be included in any narrative."

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