Within its’ response to the NIO Legacy Consultation, south Fermanagh-based victims’ group South East Fermanagh Foundation (SEFF) has stated that “the proposals in their current format are unworkable and that they cannot and will not advance the needs of innocent victims/survivors of terrorism”.
The group went on to state that, “unless Government is prepared to rethink the very foundations of their proposals on legacy that the outcome will be a persecution of the UK State and its’ security forces with negligible accountability being faced by terrorist organisations and the Republic of Ireland State”.
In a statement SEFF’s Advocacy Services Manager Ken Funston stated: “Post the Belfast Agreement, victims and survivors were left on their own to deal with the legacy of the past whilst the victim makers, the terrorists, were continually rewarded. Just when it seemed like that neglect could not get any worse, the government plans to introduce legislation that potentially will assist the revisionist strategy of the terror organisations”.
“The DRAFT Bill before us is principally directed against retired members of the Security Forces and will not meaningfully investigate the role of the terrorist gangs who were responsible for over 3,000 murders. It is incomprehensible that the NIO could produce legislation of this nature without outside pressure. Anyone with a modicum of understanding will realise that there has been interference in order to produce the desired outcome from a weighted piece of legislation”.
“It is significant that the RoI has stepped away from this, is this about them avoiding any potentially embarrassing and damaging investigations that will only be directed against the British and the role of the Security Forces?”
Meanwhile SEFF’s Director of Services Kenny Donaldson added: “SEFF considers law and order to be the foundation stone of democracy and we will not assent to any further desecration of an already subverted criminal justice system”.
“Our core test for these proposals was; could we see tangible opportunities for our constituency’s needs and aspirations to be advanced, improving upon the current situation? As the proposals are currently written we do not have such confidence”.
“Our constituency of victims/survivors have been betrayed by a political process which has empowered terrorism and its’ political annexes and for over 20 years, innocent victims/survivors of terrorism have become more and more angry, hurt and despondent with the political and peace processes, to a point where they are almost now in a place where many feel they are anti-Establishment”.
“SEFF’s proposals critically analyse what is presently before us but we are also offering solutions, our proposals are based upon the need for fairness and inclusion and are justice and accountability centred,” concluded Mr Donaldson.
SEFF’s response to the NIO Legacy Consultation can be downloaded here.