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Unionist parties call for Stormont to be lit up red in memory of terror victims

The DUP, UUP and TUV have backed the request to mark the European Day of Remembrance for Victims of Terrorism on Friday.

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Unionist parties have united to back a call for Stormont to be lit up red on Friday to mark an international remembrance day for victims of terrorism (PA)

Unionist parties have united to back a call for Stormont to be lit up red on Friday to mark an international remembrance day for victims of terrorism (PA)

Unionist parties have united to back a call for Stormont to be lit up red on Friday to mark an international remembrance day for victims of terrorism (PA)

Unionist parties in Northern Ireland have backed a call for Stormont to be lit up red in memory of victims of terrorism.

In a rare show of unity, the DUP, UUP and TUV have called for the move on Friday to mark an international remembrance day.

The annual European Day of Remembrance for Victims of Terrorism on March 11 came about following the 2004 Madrid bombings to remember all victims of terrorist attacks.

TUV leader Jim Allister hosts an event at Stormont every year to mark the day.

This year, he requested that Parliament Buildings be lit in red all day, instead of just in the evening.

He said this request has been refused by the Assembly Commission.

“Last year, Stormont was lit up in red in honour of the day but because the event was in the morning, all the innocent victims were long gone before the building was lit and therefore denied the opportunity to see the building lit in a way which paid tribute to their loved ones,” he said.

“I had hoped that this year those attending the event for innocent victims – which include a large number of disabled and elderly people – would be able to see the building lit up when they arrived. The Assembly Commission has, however, decreed that this is not to be.

“I have written to the commission asking why a decision on this matter was left until so late in the day and asking them to reconsider.”

DUP Mid Ulster MLA Keith Buchanan said his party supports the request.

“The DUP supports lighting the building red to mark European Day for Victims of Terrorism. The lack of support from some parties for this is deeply disappointing, immature and a very poor reflection on the institutions,” he said.

We are exploring what further measures can be taken to secure a sensible and respectful outcomeKeith Buchanan, MLA

“I trust the parties opposing this act of recognition will reflect on their hurtful decision.

“We are exploring what further measures can be taken to secure a sensible and respectful outcome.”

Ulster Unionist MLA Doug Beattie said he feels that victims deserve better.

“I am extremely disappointed that the Assembly Commission has not agreed to have Parliament Buildings lit up on Friday,” he said.

“Given the history of Northern Ireland, and the number of people affected by terrorism during the Troubles, I believe it would be entirely appropriate for Stormont to be illuminated to mark the International Day of Victims.

“I understand the request to have Parliament Buildings lit up was deemed to be contrary to the commission’s rules. I have to say that rules can be changed, and quite clearly these rules need to be changed.

“There is often a lot of talk in Stormont about the need for a victim-centred approach. Quite clearly for some people and parties that is just words. Our victims deserve better.”

PA