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Powell's warped views an insult to terror victims

Published 20/10/2015

Comments made by Tony Blair's former chief-of-staff Jonathan Powell - that the IRA should be legalised - is a further demonstration of the flawed and warped thinking which prevailed within the heart of Blair's government.

What planet is Jonathan Powell on? His suggestion that the IRA is a "veterans' organisation" prompts the question: a veterans' organisation of what precisely? The facts are that the IRA murdered more than 2,000 men, women and children.

Jonathan Powell is portrayed as some sort of policy and diplomatic expert on Northern Ireland. He is not. His comments are more than an insult; they are contemptuous. Where is his compassion for the innocent victims of IRA terrorism? Or, indeed, so-called "loyalist" terrorism?

What next: that this State should provide pensions for former IRA "soldiers" and the families of those who died on "active service"? Or, maybe, it's the expunging of the criminal records of these individuals, or the active destroying of all remaining evidence which links their "soldiers" to murders?

Mr Powell did everything but equate his chief-of-staff position with the Blair government with that of Thomas 'Slab' Murphy and the government of the Provo movement. Innocent Victims United and the broader innocent victims and survivors constituency want to know: who is Mr Powell's puppeteer?

Some are suggesting that Mr Powell's intervention is almost an acknowledgment on the part of the Blair government that "loyalists" have been left out in the cold since 1998. Innocent Victims United asks Mr Powell: when will the Blair government (or any Westminster government, for that matter) deal with the innocent victims and survivors of terrorism, who have never been in the warm?

Is it Mr Powell's view that victims of terrorism should be denied justice, truth and accountability? Is it his view that victims and survivors should be expected to swallow political revisionism that their loved ones died in a "conflict" or "war" and weren't actually murdered via a terrorist campaign motivated by ethnic and sectarian influences?

KENNY DONALDSON

Innocent Victims United

Belfast Telegraph

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