Victim of IRA bomb in Harrods joins Survivors Forum
An IRA victim has become the first person from England to be appointed to the Victims and Survivors Forum here.
Thirteen people who were injured and bereaved during the Troubles were yesterday named as the latest members.
They will take on a crucial consulting role in agreeing legislation to finally establish much-needed legacy bodies as set out in the Stormont House Agreement.
Key among the new members is London-based Mina Jadeja, who was injured in the IRA Harrods bomb in 1983. She suffered a number of injuries and lost the use of her right hand for many years. Ms Jadeja still suffers pain to this day.
Along with her sister and two nephews, who were also there the day the republican attack killed three police officers and three civilians, Ms Jadeja is still haunted by the experience.
Ms Jadeja's part in the forum is intended to reflect the needs and experiences of victims and survivors outside Northern Ireland.
Also joining the forum is Emmett McConomy from Londonderry, whose 11-year-old brother Stephen was shot in the back of the head with a plastic bullet by the Army in April 1982. Stephen died three days later leaving his mother, two younger brothers and a family heartbroken.
Robert McClenaghan, whose grandfather Philip Garry was killed in the UVF attack at McGurk's Bar in Belfast which killed 15 men, women and children, is another new member.
Mr McClenaghan has spent 45 years working to establish the truth about what happened the day his grandfather (73), died. He now wants to help others on their journey for justice.
Victims Commissioner Judith Thompson is inviting Secretary of State James Brokenshire to begin consultations on draft legislation with members of the forum and other victims' groups. Ms Thompson has also asked Mr Brokenshire to consider appointing a Shadow Director to the Historical Investigations Unit (HIU) as soon as broad agreement on legislation is agreed, allowing victims and survivors to have their say as soon as possible on how the process should work.
"The Forum is unique globally, as it is the only group of individual victims and survivors that has been convened through legislation to share their views and experiences, to consult, discuss and advise me on issues that affect recommendations to government," she said.
"The priorities for the Forum will continue to focus on measures for dealing with the past, arrangements for a pension for those severely injured and continuing to ensure excellent service provision throughout the Victims and Survivors Service and funded groups," the Victims Commissioner added.