Statement by TUV Strangford Assembly candidate Councillor Stephen Cooper:
“In the last Assembly TUV demonstrated that we have an ability to deliver for innocent victims.
“Ann’s Law was a stunning success for innocent victims. For 14 years Sinn Fein had been appointing Provo killers as Special Advisers on £90,000 a year of public money. No more, thanks to TUV and Ann’s Law.
“TUV secured pension parity for RUC widows who have remarried or will remarry in the future by moving amendments to the Pensions Bill.
“Before the amendments a widow from the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s or early 2000s who wanted to remarry had a very considerable financial price to pay, whereas a widow from more recent years who wanted to remarry had no financial price to pay. She retained her pension while a police widow from before the early 2000s would lose hers. No more, thanks to TUV.
“TUV was proud to stand with innocent victims when it came to the Maze shrine. While others branded opponents of the scheme “nutters”, we helped to ensure that the voice of victims and tens of thousands of ordinary Unionists was heard loud and clear.
“TUV introduced to Stormont the marking of European Day for Innocent Victims of Terrorism, something which has given victims from across the UK, the Republic of Ireland and even Continental Europe a platform.
“Last night an umbrella group for several victims’ organisations, Innocent Victims United, revealed its “Eight Core Needs” document at a victims hustings event in Cooktown which was attended by Jim Allister.
“Many of the issues are already covered in our manifesto but we are happy to pledge to work towards securing all of the goals outlined in the document including:
- Examining legislation around the glorification of terrorism to make it more robust;
- Seeking a special pension for those seriously injured during the Troubles while insisting that those injured by their own hand are excluded;
- Seeking to change the current perverse definition of victim which draws no distinction between the innocent victim and the victim maker;
- Opposing any attempt to resurrect the IRA shrine at the Maze;
- Securing comparable financial resources to those available via Peace IV for the sector in the event of Brexit and
- Fighting for innocent victims of Gaddafi sponsored IRA terrorism and seeking to ensure a pool of finance is in place to supporting the needs of victims.
“We have already proved that we are the friend of innocent victims and that we can deliver real change at Stormont for this sector. Often victims are seen as an embarrassment by those who partner terrorists in government. Others openly describe their concerns as boring, as South Belfast Alliance candidate Paula Bradshaw called the debate about the definition of a victim earlier this week on Talkback. With an increased presence in the new Assembly TUV, however, will continue to ensure that the concerns of victims are heard loud and clear.”