Newspaper for Crossmaglen, South Armagh, Newry and Down.

Victims of conflict urged to attend special consultation session

The Commission for Victims and Survivors is hosting a special consultation session in Newry this week to hear from people from South Down and Armagh who have been affected by the conflict.

The event, which will be held on Tuesday 14th August, is part of a campaign by the Commission to hear the voices of those who may never have come forward before who want to understand what is in the proposed Westminster legislation and how it may affect them.   

The Consultation proposes four of the mechanisms outlined in the Stormont house Agreement in 2014 – the Historical Investigation Unit, the Oral History Archive, the Independent Commission for Information Retrieval and the Implementation and Reconciliation Group are designed to address truth, justice and acknowledgement needs of victims and survivors.  

According to Commissioner Judith Thompson, the scheme is “probably the most important public consultation process since the Good Friday Agreement referendum”, and she is calling on government bodies, political representatives, councils and area-based civic groups to support all public events in order to reach the thousands of individual victims and survivors who have never told their story but who have a major contribution to make.

“Consultation questions can often seem overwhelming to answer or people can find it difficult to describe how these organisations would impact a person accessing them,” Ms Thompson said.

“It is the job and wish of the Commission to help people to fully explore what these proposals could mean for them and to have their say.  The Commissioner will then listen to these views and they will inform the advice she will be submitting to the Secretary of State on Legacy matters.  It’s about asking them ‘What should a truth recovery process about the death of a loved one look like to you and your family? How can you be supported when going through an investigative process?  Does the outline of the Implementation and Reconciliation Group go far enough to acknowledge the harm done?  How can we use the Oral History Archive to teach future generations about our past to ensure this level of harm never happens again?’.

“It is also a chance for those victims who feel their needs aren’t addressed in the consultation to voice what else their government needs to do in addition.  This includes a pension for the severely injured and looking at how we can support and address the needs of those victims who have been impacted by non-fatal incidents during the Troubles.”

To register for the Newry discussion group or for further information, please contact the Commission on (028) 9031 1000 email