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End denial over what definition of 'a victim' is

Published 31/07/2015

The Belfast Telegraph reported this week Innocent Victims United's call for a public referendum on the issue of the definition of a "victim", which was dismissed by Dolores Kelly of the SDLP.

We publicly challenge the SDLP victims' spokesperson and argue that her comments are out of kilter with other senior party colleagues and contrary to core SDLP principles of fairness and democracy.

The party's justice spokesman Alban Maginness, in a recent interview with the Church of Ireland Gazette, stated that to regard perpetrators as Troubles victims "is incompatible with the concept of being a victim".

Mr Maginness went on to say: "The current definition is not ideal, but we have to work with what we've got until a better definition comes along. The question is how to amend it, but unlawful actions should not be regarded in the same way as actions that are within the law."

In these comments, Mr Maginness was acknowledging that the current definition of victim is unsustainable.

Let's be clear: Innocent Victims United is not asking Dolores Kelly or anyone else to support our envisaged definition of "victim"; rather, what we are asking is for democracy to prevail and for the people to determine this most fundamental of issues.

Dolores Kelly's party is the Social Democratic and Labour Party; "Democratic" is the key word. Following her logic, the civil rights campaign had zero legitimacy for occurring because a one-party government existed and she and others should have just accepted it.

Mrs Kelly and others need to end the denial.

KENNY DONALDSON

Innocent Victims United

Belfast Telegraph

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