A GROUP representing victims of the Troubles has launched a project which aims to get justice for those who suffered at the hands of paramilitaries.
Called Justice for Innocent Victims of Terrorism (JIVT Ltd), among the services the organisation will offer is legal advice for those who may have a civil case they could take to court over the murder of their relatives.
And at the launch yesterday, tales of the extreme violence meted out to innocent men and women by the IRA were delivered in chilling detail“There is an eerie silence, dust everywhere. I can still remember the choking sensation from the dust and the rubble.
“I clearly remember looking to my side, where my dad had been standing next to me – his decapitated body was lying at my feet. I knew straightaway he was dead.Troubles victims begin new search for justice - Headlines - Belfast NewsletterAsked whether they would be largely dealing with those from a Protestant/unionist background, he said: “Largely so, although there are a growing number of families from a Catholic tradition who are involved.
“It’s not about a denominational issue for us. It’s about those who stayed on the right side of the law, and those who act as terrorists.”
Troubles victims stories: Stephen Gault - Headlines - Belfast Newsletter
Troubles victims stories: Michael Gallagher - Headlines - Belfast Newsletter
Troubles victims stories: Ann Travers - Headlines - Belfast Newsletter
As a society we have yet to deal with the victims legacy of the troubles, in the aftermath of the GFA those on both 'sides' that committed terror acts were released and those that controlled terror were rewarded, lauded, elected and deemed peacemakers.
The vast majority of victims were air brushed out of history bar the multiple murder atrocities or a few headline individuals. Many feel forgotten and ignored their losses compounded by a lack of justice, the reality is we are to far down the line and have to many former protagonists in influential positions for any wide scale legal justice to be achieved. Anyway constantly re opening cans of worms has no future (other than on p.ie!!) but at the same-time something has to be done across the board rather than piecemeal. For too long the focus has been on those who did rather than those who it was done to.
I believe that we as a society owe all the victims families some form of recognition the question is what?
1. To remove the hierarchy of victims, referr to 'all those killed' or 'all deaths as a result of the troubles' etc.
2. compensation, I doubt many of the families care about money but a one off equal payment across the board would be something tangible and perhaps the chance to double the amount if given to a charity.
3. Memorial, NI is coming down with official and non official memorials, but i would suggest something large and visual comprising of individual items each representing someone who was killed. I would have no names because of the problems arising you would have the shankill bomber and butcher alongside their victims, etc.
4. Reflection, pick one day or week (if possible one without signification to any side) ask all churches schools sports workplaces etc to hold two minutes silence for 'all deaths as a result of the troubles' . It would be a once only event rather than annual.