Statement by TUV East Antrim candidate Ruth Wilson:
“TUV has proved that we are a true friend of innocent victims. As the only party opposed to terrorists in government we have had a freedom to speak and work on their behalf which hasn’t been possible on the part of any other party.
“Our most memorable success was of course with Ann’s Law giving victims, for the first time an enhanced say in legislation over who could serve as a Special Adviser.
“We also secured pension justice for RUC widows and it was Jim Allister who introduced to Stormont the marking of European Day for the Innocent Victims of Terrorism, something which is now cherished by all who attend. In the first week after the election TUV again will host this event, giving a voice to innocent victims right at the outset of the new Assembly term.
“TUV wants to change the perverse definition of victim – which equates the terrorist with innocent victims and supports the creation of a pension for those seriously injured as a result of terrorist actions in Northern Ireland.
“With regards to the talks which will follow the election, it is clear that the architecture of the Stormont House Agreement is forming the basis of discussions about dealing with victims’ issues. Critically there is no suggestion of a departure from the obscene definition of ‘victim’. In consequence, the entire proposals on the past are tainted.
“Sinn Fein/IRA succeeded in its demand that ‘legacy inquests’ should continue separately from the new and inferior Historical Investigations Unit (HIU).
“This could see retired soldiers and police officers in the dock while IRA terrorists get off scot-free.
“The Stormont Castle Agreement agreed £19 million in funds for legacy inquests – a figure which dwarfed the £6.5 million for the Historical Investigations Union for overhanging Historical Enquires Team cases. The stage has already been set for a climb-down on this vital issue.
“The proposed Independent Commission on Information Retrieval (ICIR) can conceal any information it wishes because it will be immune from FOI requirements. Under the operation of the ICIR, terrorists supplying information will have immunity in that nothing they tell can ever be used against them. Indeed, whether they even tell the truth seems impossible of verification.
“Of course, there is no compulsion on any terrorist group to cooperate with the ICIR. As the Stormont House proposals demonstrate, with the victim – makers in government, their victims are set for a raw deal.
“With a DUP MP lauding IRA commander McGuinness as a peace maker who saved lives it is clear TUV is the best insurance policy Unionists have when it comes to holding the line on victims issues.”