Sandra Peake, the CEO of the WAVE Trauma Centre, the largest cross community victims and survivors support group in Northern Ireland, has said that the Prime Minister and the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland should stop claiming that the proposals set out in the House of Commons today (Wednesday 14 July) are designed to deal with the legacy of the past in Northern Ireland and are victim centred.
Ms Peake said:
“From the moment that the Government unilaterally tore up the Stormont House Agreement in a Written Ministerial Statement issued on the eve of the first Covid lockdown in March 2020 it has been clear that the sole driving force behind these proposals is to protect veterans.
The regular briefings to newspapers sympathetic to the Government have focused only on veterans issues and there is a very good reason for that.
That is what these proposals are about and the needs of victims and survivors are not even of a second order.
The notion that an amnesty for paramilitaries who move amongst the families of those they have murdered will aid reconciliation is beyond absurd and victims and survivors know that even if the Secretary of State does not.
Either he doesn’t understand or he doesn’t care but either way what he is proposing is obscene and will bring nothing but further pain and anguish to people who have suffered so much.
The Government is telling them that what happened to their loved ones no longer matters.
The Government is telling those who carried out the most horrendous crimes that what they did no longer matters.
Imagine the outcry if a Home Secretary told the family of a race hate murder in London or Manchester or Great Yarmouth that the case was being closed in the name of reconciliation.
The Prime Minister and Secretary of State may hope that time and mortality will resolve these complex and sensitive issues and that perverting the criminal justice system while in effect telling victims and survivors to dry their eyes and be quiet is the answer.
They could not be more wrong”.