Belfast Telegraph

Commisioner for Victims criticises shamed MP McElduff

By Victoria Leonard

Victims Commissioner Judith Thompson has condemned the "unacceptable revictimisation" of those affected by the Troubles in the wake of the Kingsmill controversy.

Ms Thompson reacted to the furore sparked by Barry McElduff's online video yesterday after TUV leader Jim Allister sent her an open letter querying why she had remained silent on the issue.

In the letter, the North Antrim MLA said Ms Thompson should be using her influence with Sinn Fein "to get them to take meaningful action against McElduff".

He had asked: "How can you claim to be representing the interests of victims and remain silent when they have been insulted in such a grossly hurtful manner?"

Responding, Ms Thompson called for "all of those who have a public voice to be more conscious of the impact of thoughtless comments and politicisation of victims' issues".

She added: "I have been aware of many instances recently, where victims and survivors throughout our community felt traumatised by the public reaction of those who should know better; Kingsmill is yet another example of this and it has to stop.

"This is something I have fully intended to address but will do so in a way that keeps the impact on victims and survivors at the heart of the issue and maintains respect for their experiences.

"Make no mistake, I am determined that all victims and survivors will be treated with dignity and respect and that their hurt or loss will not be minimised.

"I have been in contact with Kingsmill families and will be engaging with the families directly over the coming weeks."

Meanwhile, the Presbyterian Church has also hit out at Mr McElduff.

The main Churches here had been criticised for their silence.

But yesterday the convenor of the Presbyterian Church's Council for Public Affairs, the Very Rev Dr Norman Hamilton, described the incident as "deeply wrong".

He added that it "clearly demonstrates ethical poverty and a lack of awareness and understanding of the pain that many people are still living with".

Belfast Telegraph

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