The Office of the First and deputy First Ministers has issued a statement on the “damaging fudge” which was the appointment of FOUR Victims Commissioners designate after the comments last night by Mike Nesbitt on being cautioned against acting as if his post had legal status. Meanwhile the BBC are also reporting that Mr Nesbitt is seeking legal advice on what he can, or cannot, do. According to the statement
There is no barrier to the Commissioners Designate meeting victims and survivors.
The issue of victims and survivors is a major priority for Ministers. At the time of their appointment the First Minister/deputy First Minister positively encouraged the Commissioners to engage with victims and survivors as part of the work programme they were asked to develop.
Work is at an advanced stage on drafting the legislation which will provide for a Commission comprising several members rather than a single Commissioner.
We will be seeking the agreement of the OFMDFM Committee for accelerated passage, which would mean that the legislation should be in place by late spring.
It has and remains Minister’s wish to provide every support and assistance possible to the Commissioners in order that they can advance their work as quickly as possible.