Response to Barry McElduff’s Resignation – IVU

Kenny Donaldson, Spokesman for Innocent Victims United stated: “Ultimately the right decision has been taken that Barry McElduff would resign, it is regrettable that it took 10 days for this to happen and for the Kingsmills families to have to go through what they have gone through. Painful sores have been re-opened and exposed “.

“Sinn Fein have issued statements in recent days including through Mr McElduff which on the face of it, represents new language in respect of the Kingsmills atrocity. Words are helpful but critically people (particularly victims of terrorism) will judge the Party and Republican Movement through their actions”.

“The Provisional Movement have many more steps to take in respect of Kingsmills but in all cases where the Provisional IRA harmed the community and individuals, Protestant, Roman Catholic and Dissenter”.

“We call in unison with the families for The Provisional Movement to once and for all acknowledge that Kingsmills was a sanctioned attack committed by PIRA members, there is a need for an apology for the damage caused to families and individuals, both through the act of terror itself but also in the subsequent 42 years where the Republican Movement, its’ personnel and supporters have continued to shield the Truth from those left devastated”.

Mr Donaldson added: “Good can yet come from the last fortnight, we repeat our call for a formal acknowledgement from the Provisional Movement and all terrorist organisations and also the two Nation States – UK and Republic of Ireland. The thrust of the acknowledgement would be as follows; ‘We accept that no grievance, enmity or political objective justified the use of criminal violence in what became known as; The Northern Ireland Troubles”.

“If this foundation stone was in place then there is the potential to meaningfully deal with the legacy of the past as well as smash the justification for future violence. Let’s be clear violence and civil strife stymied this place and its’ people for generations, isn’t it time that people were given something better?” concluded Mr Donaldson.

The ‘Past’ cannot be excused – IVU

When Shirley McMichael was appointed to the Northern Ireland Victims Forum earlier this year we were almost the lone voice in questioning that appointment. We had previously also questioned the appointment of PROVO terrorists and/or members of their families.

After reading the interview given by Mrs McMichael to the News Letter last week which focused on the 30th Anniversary since her husband John was murdered we feel vindicated in the stance we took.

Firstly it is important on a human level that we recognise that the McMichael family will grieve the loss of the late John McMichael and we have no doubt that this will have come into sharpe focus as a substantive anniversary is reached.

However we cannot allow the contents of that interview to go unchecked. The theme which ran through Mrs McMichael’s contribution was that of, promoting her late husband’s ‘political’ efforts post his involvement in terrorism as a UDA ‘Brigadier’ whilst skirting over the violent aspects of that organisation and her husband’s close quarters role.

When asked about the many innocent Roman Catholics the UDA murdered, she stated: “It would have been wonderful if there had been a better way. I was a supporter of the civil rights movement but when the IRA violence began it coloured everyone’s judgment. “There could have been a better way. I have talked to the victims of loyalist paramilitaries. My heart goes out to them.”

There was a better way and that was the way which the overwhelming majority of Northern Ireland’s population took, the path of democracy, non-violence and respect for the sanctity of human life.

Mrs McMichael went on to say that she feels “shunned by big house unionists” and “much more at home with republicans,” this statement needs interrogation.

Our organisation is not representative of ‘big house unionism’ but rather is comprised of 11,500 individuals who come from unionist, nationalist and non-aligned backgrounds, Protestant, Roman Catholic and Dissenter and across the class divide.

The commonality these individuals share is an abhorrence and opposition to terrorism and criminal violence, such actions cannot and should not be explained or excused as an inevitable consequence of perceived or indeed real grievances experienced within the Society by any grouping of people.

Many UDA, UVF, IRA and INLA terrorists and/or their families do feel able to be “comfortable with one another” now and why? Because they have convinced themselves that they were fighting a ‘just War,’ that was of neither of their makings. To some degree their warped narratives are dependent on the other’s.

Let’s be clear, in his latter years John McMichael appears to have embarked on a different journey post the violent past from which he came. Is that to be acknowledged? Yes, but more so must those whom the organisation he was a ‘Brigadier’ (terrorist godfather to most of the rest of us) harmed – the very many innocents often murdered because of raw and ugly sectarianism.

Mrs McMichael needs to step beyond solely defending her husband’s legacy to genuinely encouraging those from loyalist terrorist backgrounds to account for their crimes, to express remorse, to repent and to then meaningfully restitute for what they have taken out of this Society.

And this is the commonality shared with republicanism, for they must travel that same journey.

The continued failure to do so means that short of being part of the solution, such mindsets remain an intrinsic part of the problem.

Call for equality around access to justice – IVU

Responding to comments made by Sinn Fein’s Michelle O’Neill that Stormont could be reinstated,
Kenny Donaldson, Spokesman for Innocent Victims United stated: “Funding for Legacy Inquests must not be freed up unless and until there are structures established which meaningfully address the access to justice deficit experienced by victims of terrorism”.
“There has been a dangerous piecemeal approach taken concerning investigation of legacy issues, the Coronial Inquest system is part of that problem and mist not be resourced in isolation of other justice pursuit mechanisms being introduced”.
“The vast majority of cases within the coronial inquest queue are cases against the State, whether terrorists killed whilst they were on ‘active service’ or cases where collusion and/or criminal actions are alleged”.
“We desire justice, truth and accountability for all innocents, irrespective of who it was that harmed them – republican or loyalist terrorists or individual members of the security forces. However what we will not tolerate is the creation of a SF/PIRA dominated narrative which seeks to diminish the actions and consequences of terrorism yet denigrate security forces as collectives”.
“The statistics are there to be seen where responsibility lies for ‘Troubles’ related deaths – 90% terrorist and 10% attributable to the State with a much smaller sub-section being criminal-based murder or unlawful killing,” concluded Mr Donaldson.

Call for equality around access to justice

Responding to comments made by Sinn Fein’s Michelle O’Neill that Stormont could be reinstated,  Kenny Donaldson, Spokesman for Innocent Victims United stated: “Funding for Legacy Inquests must not be freed up unless and until there are structures established which meaningfully address the access to justice deficit experienced by victims of terrorism”.

“There has been a dangerous piecemeal approach taken concerning investigation of legacy issues, the Coronial Inquest system is part of that problem and mist not be resourced in isolation of other justice pursuit mechanisms being introduced”.

“The vast majority of cases within the coronial inquest queue are cases against the State, whether terrorists killed whilst they were on ‘active service’ or cases where collusion and/or criminal actions are alleged”.

“We desire justice, truth and accountability for all innocents, irrespective of who it was that harmed them – republican or loyalist terrorists or individual members of the security forces. However what we will not tolerate is the creation of a SF/PIRA dominated narrative which seeks to diminish the actions and consequences of terrorism yet denigrate security forces as collectives”.

“The statistics are there to be seen where responsibility lies for ‘Troubles’ related deaths – 90% terrorist and 10% attributable to the State with a much smaller sub-section being criminal-based murder or unlawful killing,” concluded Mr Donaldson.

17/12/2017 – Chief Constable needs to steer clear of politics

Lisnaskea-based South East Fermanagh Foundation (which is also one of 23 member groups attached to the Innocent Victims United umbrella organisation) has questioned the judgement of the Chief Constable following comments he made around the need for new legacy structures to be established, particularly citing the Historical Investigations Unit.

The Lisnaskea-based group has stated that the Chief Constable is effectively doing the “political Establishment’s bidding and that this was unacceptable particularly given the contested nature of the legacy proposals contained within The Stormont House ‘Dis’Agreement”.

In a statement SEFF’s Director of Services Kenny Donaldson said: “Whilst we can acknowledge and indeed empathise with the Chief Constable’s frustration concerning the piecemeal approach being taken around investigating unsolved ‘Troubles related’ murders we nevertheless fundamentally disagree with him and his Service making political statements”.

“Last time we had cause to publicly question the PSNI, namely around the manner in which the Enniskilen Poppy Day Massacre has been dealt with, we were served up a misguided rant which sought to diminish the work of representatives of our organisation in pursuing justice, truth and accountability for the innocent victims of terrorism”.

“The Chief Constable sought to lecture but it is he who is seemingly going around with his eyes and ears closed. Let him and others be clear that neither SEFF nor the IVU memberships, nor indeed very many others support the legacy structures as currently presented because there is limited means to hold accountable terrorism for its’ crimes, it’s as simple as that”.

“We have deep concerns that there will exist an inherent bias against the Police and Army and that’s not acceptable. Where terrorism or crime has been perpetrated all must be treated equally from here on in, not withstanding the concessions terrorism has obtained to date – early prisoner releases, OTR Assurance letters, Royal Prerogatives of Mercy etc”.

“There is no political agreement for the suite of institutions proposed. One out of the five main political parties has to date ratified the Stormont House ‘Agreement.’ – SF/PIRA with a number being highly critical of the structures currently proposed, particularly the Historical Investigations Unit”.

“If the NIO proceeds with launching a public consultation on the proposed legacy structures contained within The Stormont House ‘Dis’Agreement then it needs to be an open and transparent process where Government is prepared to respond to what comes back at them. This consultation must not be a superficial ‘CON’-sultation”.

“We are clear that those who hold core responsibility for the deaths of ‘The Troubles’ are terrorists, whether republican or loyalist and whatever failings the Police or others had concerning such cases whether pre the attack or in the event’s aftermath, all must remember that 90% of lives lost during ‘The Troubles’ were as a consequence of triggers pulled or bombs detonated by terrorists,” concluded Mr Donaldson.

16/05/2017 – Defence Committee’s Report is ambiguous and open to multiple interpretations

Regarding the following article.

Kenny Donaldson, Spokesman for Innocent Victims United stated: “The Report is ambiguous to say the least, the languages used are open to multiple interpretations. IVU has a clear stance on terrorism and criminal violence – where there can be proven to be a premeditated intent to take human life (minus terrorists being killed whilst in the midst of an offensive action) all such crimes must be treated consistently”.

“The Defence committee‘s report concludes, “It is clear from the experience of these legacy investigations that, unless a decision is taken to draw a line under all Troubles-related cases, without exception, they will continue to grind on for many years to come – up to half-a-century after the incidents concerned.”

“This is being sold as merely a statement of fact but many are interpreting this paragraph in conjunction with a further paragraph calling for truth recovery mechanisms to be established – that this is the general direction of travel being proposed – a movement away from the prospect of any prosecutions being pursued”.
“The Defence Committee claim to stop short of recommending a Statute of Limitation for all ‘Troubles related crimes’ (inclusive of those crimes perpetrated by terrorists) They do so citing the law and their lack of knowledge as to whether or not the Statute of Limitations could be furthered in respect of the military minus other ‘Troubles related’ cases. This position is dangerous and could effectively pave the way to an overt Amnesty, in many ways we have been subject to a covert Amnesty through various attempts ‘bastardise’ the Criminal Justice system, early prisoner releases, OTR Assurance letters, Royal Prerogatives of Mercy etc”.
“It is clear that there are many within the ‘Establishment’ who favour an out and out Amnesty, this is not acceptable to the innocent victims and survivors of terrorism and ‘other Troubles related criminal violence.’

And then following additional comments made by the Chairman of the Defence Committee.
Mr Donaldson added: “Mr Lewis has in many ways done a service in saying what he has said because the covert language in the report has now become the overt spoken language”

Northern Ireland had its’ own Texas Church massacre

Innocent Victims United, an umbrella organisation for 23 groups with combined membership of over 11,500 victims and survivors (with members from across Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland, Great Britain and Mainland Europe) has issued a statement in which it expressed its’ solidarity with the victims of the Texas Church massacre – where 26 innocents perished at the hands of a lone gunman aged between 5 and 72 years.
In a statement Kenny Donaldson of IVU stated: “IVU’s thoughts and prayers are with the community of First Baptist Church, Sutherland Springs in Texas, and particularly the families of the 26 innocents who were murdered and all others who were injured as a result of the attack. Rightly the World has expressed its’ shock and revulsion at what has happened. This was a brutal attack upon a group of defenceless God fearing and God loving people”.
“In Northern Ireland there is special significance because in this place we had our own South Carolina massacre. On 20th November 1983 INLA terrorists attacked a church service at Mountain Lodge Pentecostal Church near Darkley in the heart of South Armagh. At the time there were about sixty people inside the small wooden building. Three members of the church were shot dead as they stood outside the entrance; they were Protestant civilians Harold Brown (59), David Wilson (44) and Victor Cunningham (39) – their crime was being Christian and Protestant”.
“Seven others were injured in the premeditated, sectarian attack. The congregation were singing the hymn; ‘Are You Washed in the Blood of the Lamb,’ as terrorists sprayed gunfire. The World should continue to feel revulsion at what happened in Darkley which was a horrific crime against a Christian and Peace loving Church community”.
“The events in Sutherland Springs, Texas will be weighing on the hearts and minds of those caught up in Darkley and their surviving families, our prayers are also with those so affected,” concluded Mr Donaldson.

Enniskillen families and Lamberts won’t be forgotten

Kenny Donaldson, Director of Service for Lisnaskea-based South East Foundation which supports a number of the bereaved families and injured survivors of the Enniskillen Poppy Day bomb stated: “As we approach the 30th Anniversary of Enniskillen and wider Society refreshes its’ interest there is a need for particular understanding to be shown to those directly impacted by the events of that day – the bereaved and those physically and psychologically traumatised. And we also remember the Lambert family who had 19-year-old Adam murdered in a retaliatory action the day after The Enniskillen Poppy Day massacre by loyalist terrorists and in a supposed case of mistaken identity”.

“The resilience and dignity of the Enniskillen families has been a constant over three decades but has others behaviour towards them been as honourable? How do Sinn Fein/PIRA check out on this, not only at the point they bombed those gathered to respectfully remember those stolen to War but in their positions and actions since? Or what about the UK Government in its’ continuous appeasement of terrorism or its’ refusal to stand by and support victim’s legitimate rights for compensation from Libya for its’ PIRA sponsored terrorism. Or what about the criminal justice system inclusive of the Police who have failed the families via a catalogue of mistruths which has left many feeling despondent and deeply hurt”.

“And then there are others who surely need to look long and had at themselves in the run up to this substantive anniversary, have they behaved honourably in best ensuring that the dignity of the innocents impacted by the horrors of that day is best acknowledged or have they hid behind the curtain of process and bureaucracy as a means not to do the right thing by those who actually should be the focus of their concern?”.

“Enniskillen and the intent of Tullyhommon were arguably the most heinous crimes committed over the years of the terrorism campaign, in this Country there had always been an inbuilt respect given to the remembrance of those who have left this life, that has been sacrosanct. The actions of 8th November 2017 represented new depths of humanity being debased. The continuing failure to bring to account those responsible for Enniskillen is not merely a failure of Government, of the criminal justice system, it is a failure and indictment of all those within the community who hold information concerning events of that day but who have refused to present that information. It is late but there is still time for people to do the right thing,” concluded Mr Donaldson.

15/09/2017 – Totally inappropriate to leagalise RHC

Kenny Donaldson, Spokesman for Innocent Victims United stated: “As a group which represents innocent victims and survivors of terrorism and ‘other Troubles related criminal violence’ our first concern is with the innocents and their families whose lives were stolen and/or damaged as a result of the terrorist and criminal actions of the RHC”.

“There are sentiments within the statement which are to be welcomed however the core request to have the organisation de-proscribed by the Government is not appropriate. The Red Hand Commando complete with the UVF carried out murder and other acts of terrorism and criminality within this Society, they did so upon their neighbours and their motivation was certainly never for God and we question what benefit if ever had to Ulster either”.

“For God and Ulster” is the mantra which belongs to the border people of this land, those who refused to bring to their neighbour’s door that which had been brought to theirs’, it is not the property of a terrorist organisation who now seek political absolution for their crimes”.

“In previous political agreements, the main proscribed organisations committed to disappearing, of going out of business and of ceasing all forms of terror and criminality, this is what they must do and their personnel must continue (or begin in some cases) the journey of restitution, doing what they can to put back into this Society. We do not believe that the terror names IRA, UVF/RHC, INLA, UDA etc should ever become legalised, they must be remembered in history for what they were – organisations of oppression with ideologies which encouraged and indeed demanded one neighbour to murder another”.

Attitudinal mindsets of SF/PIRA reps must change

Follow on from: 28/07/2017 – Council Walk-out over McCann Enniskillen Bomb comments and 07/09/2017 – “Ourselves Alone” Council Chairman does not have the confidence of many.

We commend coverage within your publication in recent days concerning the on-going dispute within Fermanagh and Omagh District Council where SF/PIRA Chirman Cllr McCann has refused to retract or apologise for his pro terror utterances.

We are clear that the next course of action must be an investigation of potential breach of the code of conduct connected with the office he occupies.

It’s getting into semantics but it’s worth noting that Cllr’s did not walk out per say at last week’s meeting, they withdrew.

We welcome the initiative taken by the UUP Cllr’s followed by DUP and SDLP colleagues but we call upon them collectively to make this a line in the sand issue. How this particular matter plays out with Cllr McCann could have ramifications for Councils across Northern Ireland.

Whilst Cllr McCann is receiving the focus of consternation, it isn’t he that is the real issue.

Would any SF/PIRA rep asked the same questions posed by Rodney Edwards really have answered so differently?

No the issue is and remains the unacceptability of the views expressed which amount to terrorism idolatry. These views are aired in elected chambers across Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland and occasionally in Great Britain.

The role of Chairman of a Council carries with it civic responsibilities, Mr McCann to date has demonstrated an inability to be a civic leader for all, rather he is behaving to type – his code appears to be to the ‘ourselves alone’ mantra of the organisation to which he belongs – Sinn Fein/PIRA.

The fact is and will remain that Seamus McElwaine was a serial killer who along with others murdered his neighbours because of intolerance for them – he murdered in a manner motivated by sectarian and ethnic hatred and of seeking to drive the minority community from their border homesteads.

And the fact will remain that the action to bomb Enniskillen on Poppy Day Remembrance on 8th November 1987 where 11 innocents perished and a 12th died some several years later was wholly wrong and unjustified and was again motivated by sectarian and ethnic hatred of those who defined themselves as British or who were pro respect for the dead of real Wars.

Furthermore, the attempted massacre of dozens of children in the border village of Tullyhommon as they also came to honour the dead of two real Wars were the actions of the demonic and depraved.

Those who refuse to condemn the actions of those responsible for Enniskillen and the failed actions at Tullyhommon are complicit.