Eames and Bradley unrepentant over no hierarchy of victims

Lord Eames and Denis Bradley confronted some of their tormentors in the Commons Northern Ireland committee this afternoon over recognition payments. True to form, a row broke out as soon a opening statements had been made.“Your credibility is so badly damaged that it renders all the other parts of your report difficult” said Iris Robinson. “Contaminated” David Simpson called it and ratcheted up the temperature by recalling that Lord Eames had buried four of his relatives: “ I was disappointed to see that your fingerprints were all over it ,” he said and went on to accuse Denis Bradley of having an (unspecified but clearly sinister ) “agenda.” At this he got to his feet for some reason but the chairman the magniloquent Sir Patrick Cormack told him sharply to sit down, reminding him he was there to ask questions not to make statements questioning the co-chairs’ integrity. Adds later.. Mark Devenport who was present says it was the SDLP’s Alistair McDonnell who got up, not David Simpson. I was watching on the tiny web screen. But certainly Mr Simpson was rapped for impugning integrity.

The case for the defence was clear and was put no less than six times, I made it. No hierarchy of victims was in the law Parliament itself has made in the Victims Order 2006 where no distinction is made between sides. Asked repeatedly to admit “in their hearts “ that recognition payments had been a mistake Robin Eames admitted ruefully “you could drive a coach and horses through the figure”. It had come in a little noticed recommendation for payments in the Republic. But on no hierarchy of victims, there was no resiling .

“No one has said murderers should get an award,” said Bradley wearily. “There is not a conflict in the world that has not grasped this nettle. It will not go away. “ A mother’s tears” had come from several prominent unionists. An Omagh relative had recoiled at first and then had come to agree. Three out of the four Victims Commissioners agreed also.

Denis Bradley’s eloquence grew as his patience thinned. On the row over the payments; “ I think our politicians have dealt with this obnoxiously. They are using the payments issue to continue the fight.”

In a short session on the legacy commission, he claimed it would do it “better, faster and without 40 lawyers in the room. The hard politics of this is that the community is ready to carry on the fight in the courts for the next forty years. There were people raring to get into the courts or public inquiries at a cost of £1 billion pounds”. The legacy commission needed only the lower burdens of proof that would satisfy most relatives. In any case, “there is no full justice and no full truth. What we are trying to do is to provide adequate answers for those most intimately involved. It is up to the British government to take ownership of the issue if our politicians aren’t capable of it.”

But the British government showed no signs of doing anything of the sort. The most shameful intervention of the day came outside the committee when the secretary of state Shaun Woodward used the vehicle of the Nolan show to reject recognition payments without having the decency to inform the authors his predecessor had commissioned . An ill-mannered and silly piece of ingratiation that will do him no good in the long run. Robin Eames declined to rise to Kate Hooey’s bait and criticise the minister.

Perhaps he thought, we have political enemies enough.

  • danielmoran

    politician’s use of victims entirely predictable…..
    as denis bradley pointed out, it was at westminster that the equal status of victims was decided following agreement between unionists and republicans, and not the remit of eames/bradley. both these gentlemen knew that the politicians [all unionists barracking them today], also knew this. But they also knew their voters watching might not, and couldn’t pass up the opportunity for grandstanding, so were determined to exploit this nationalist politicians managed to resist that.

  • Edward

    What do they have to repent for? They were asked to do a job they did it end of story. They seem to have done a spectacularily good job since just about every one is either angry with them or lining up behind them for their chance with a sneaky knife

    In the mean time unionists might as well take up the idea that they no longer drive the agenda and their truth is no longer the truth of the state

  • The Raven

    I’m with Edward on this one. I’m deliberately steered clear of this topic, as I am the first to admit: I’m not a victim – at least not of The Troubles.

    Robinson and Simpson’s comments, purveyors of bile that they collectively are, make me want to puke. For all their faults, Eames and Bradley are far more human than the snakes that confronted them.

  • barnshee

    The real snakes are those who try to equate a nine year old child blown to pieces by a catholic republican murder gang, the protestant thug who murdered pub customers at random and the murderer blown up with his own bomb. True snakes, if that`s a “low” enough description.

    However uncomfortable for the scum (of all descriptions) that litter N Ireland there IS a hierarcy of “victims”. The failure to recognise this will consign Eames Bradley to the dustbin of history (don’t address reality maybe it will go away)

  • The Raven

    Barnshee, I don’t think anyone disagrees with the sentiment you express. But I find it pretty reprehensible that the politicos – and these politicos especially – have the gall to use this sort of language, in a public forum, to these men.

    After all, they were charged with delivering on poisoned chalice. No-one was ever going to be happy with the outcome, in any shape or form. You may want to consign the report to the dustbin of history – but I (personally, I must emphasise) don’t believe the men behind it should be maligned in this way.

    Somebody used the word “grandstanding”….?

  • William

    As one who has worked with a victims group with both Catholic and Protestant members, all find the report that Bradley had undue influence on, they find him and the report obnoxious, rather than the politicians who are standing up for the innocent people who died. The group I speak of have nothing but contempt for the definition of victims as defined by the Parliament of the UK. This group represent REAL VICTIMS, not Victims that include terrorists who died whilst out trying to kill others.

  • Turgon

    William,
    I would be interested in any of your comments and experiences on this issue. I would be very grateful if you would drop me an email.

    Regards

  • Kevin Cooper

    I believe the Secretary of State Shaun Woodward has moved prematurely to rule out the £12,000 payment to all families bereaved as a result of the Northern Ireland conflict. There has been no opportunity for proper engagement and discussion on the difficult issues this report tries to address for the benefit of the future of society as a whole. We must also remember that this conflict was visited upon others outside Northern Ireland who also should be consulted about the report. While I understand the emotions behind the issues of making payments to all families who suffered loss, as an acknowledgement of their suffering, we need to recognise all the suffering by those who lost loved ones. The difficult question of who receives the recognition payments is easier to understand if we concentrate on the suffering of those who grieve for the loss. I don’t understand the British government statement so soon after the publishing of the report. This is an extremely wide ranging and detailed report written by “Consultative Group on the Past” who consulted widely over a period of 18 months. Surely greater discussion of that report is required before a government makes these decisions. This was always going to be a difficult but much-needed job by the Consultative Group on the Past therefore we should concentrate on the issues not the personalities.

  • Edward

    I notice those that are espousing a hierarchy of victims always fail to mention the victims of state terror and collusion. They too are many and innocent and the security forces and armed forces in their minds get a free pass

    Who is or is not an innocent victim is far harder to sort out then many of you think, for instance does being a member of the security forces make you an innocent victim or simply collateral damage. How many of the members of the security forces were also terrorists themselves and who gets to make that decision?

  • Congal Claen

    So, Hitler is as much of a victim as Ann Frank? Wise to f*ck up your terrorist, apologising f*ckwits.

  • Edward

    Do you wish to turn this into a debate about who started the war cong?

  • Congal Claen

    Hi Edward,

    It’s obviously about this notion that there’s no hierarchy of victims. Which is obnoxious as well as plain wrong.

  • Edward

    too establish a hierarchy you first have to establish a perspective on who is innocent. Who’s p[osition do you accept unionists or republicans because they are fairly exclusive views over who is innocent as can be seen here everyday

  • Democratic

    Innocent means innocent – people who were not combatants in anyones version of “war” People who were killed in bombs and bullets while shopping or eating – people who were murdered purely on the grounds of their religion or their political view…none of these people are exclusive to either the Nationalist or Unionist label – and these people have much more entitlement to their victim status than those who were involved in the violence directly – be they paramilitary or state agencies. There is no muddying the waters here despite certain peoples propaganda and twisted morality….there is a crystal clear “hierarchy of victims” and there will always be one in the hearts and minds of all rational people…..

  • Congal Claen

    Hi Edward,

    I don’t have a Unionist or Republican view on it. I have a terrorist/non-terrorist view on it.

  • Edward

    Who’s the terrorists?

    To many nationalists the police and the army were the terrorists, so they would never be considered innocent victims. Is that acceptable in the split between innocent and terrorist in your world?

    And would all the state terrorists victims be automatically considered innocent if they were killed while not carrying out a terroist act at the time?

  • Democratic

    Off you go with the attempts at muddying the water Edward – I wonder what your motive in this is….members of paramilitary organisations cannot claim to be victims in the same sense of those who were murdered despite having no involvement in violence – you may be able to put forward some arguement for victimhood further down the “hierachy” put such people are not in the same league….
    I also feel that members of the security forces while victims in many cases are too not in the same position in the “hierarchy” as non-combatants either though most will still rank above the mass paramilitary killers on both sides.

  • Edward

    I am not muddying the waters just pointing out the mud that already there

    What makes a state terrorist higher than a paramilitary one?

  • Democratic

    Nothing makes a state terrorist better than a paramilitary one Edward – terrorists are terrorists – what’s your point? If you want me however to say that ALL security force members were terrorists though then you will be waiting a long time. However all this is a not too clever aside – your “hierarchy” may not look the same as mine – but I bet you have one and I reckon it wouldn’t take a great deal of probing to uncover it either. Therefore the point remains – EVERYONE has their own “hierarchy of victims” it may not follow the official state line nor it may not follow your neighbours line – but it exists – of that there is no doubt and no amount of muddying the waters in a ridiculous and doomed-to-fail attempt to morally equalise the victimhood of all killed in Northern Ireland over the years will ever change that.

  • Congal Claen

    Hi Edward,

    “Who’s the terrorists?”

    That you even need to ask shows that you need to get your moral compass sorted.

    When you do, tell me this were the killers of Garda McCabe terrorists?

    It’s obvious that they were to non apologists for terror. I’d be interested in your thoughts…

  • Edward

    Which all gos back to my point how do you establish a hierarchy of victims because you have to choose a perspective or as Eams/Bradley have done allow that everyone killed was a victim

    I am not trying to establish a hierarchy merely pointing out all the moral outrage is simply because it isnt following the traditional unionist view of who is or is not a victim

    Unionists have to accept that their truth is not the states truth anymore unless they wish to adopt the states truth

  • Edward

    Congal were the RUC terrorists?

    Where is the apology for Bloody Sunday? Were these perpetrators terrorists?

    What about Drumcree? Is the orange order a terrorist organization?

    Do you want me to admit there were republican terrorists? Yes there were

    But what about the other side, who exactly decides the difference between innocent and terrorist

  • Congal Claen

    Hi Edward,

    “traditional unionist view of who is or is not a victim”

    What are you on about? You’re the only one mentioning unionist or republican. I’ve only mentioned terrorists – whether they be loyalist or republican is neither here nor there. They’re still terrorists and are not victims.

    It really is worrying that you’re having difficulty with this.

  • Edward

    Yes Congal but my point is who is or is not a terrorist?

  • Congal Claen

    Hi Edward,

    “Congal were the RUC terrorists?”

    No

    “Where is the apology for Bloody Sunday? Were these perpetrators terrorists?”

    Tony Blair has already apologised. No they were not. I believe that was a botched operation. However, the 13 were innocent victims. They’re not to be put on the same hierarchy as Billy Wright or Thomas Begley.

    “What about Drumcree? Is the orange order a terrorist organization?”

    Whatabout it? And no it isn’t.

    “Do you want me to admit there were republican terrorists? Yes there were”

    Good. Now you’re getting it.

    “But what about the other side, who exactly decides the difference between innocent and terrorist”

    It’s a moral judgment.

  • Congal Claen

    Hi Edward,

    “Yes Congal but my point is who is or is not a terrorist?”

    Terrorists are those who seek to use terror to further political aims. They tend not to conform to the Geneva conventions.

  • Edward

    Thyen the RUC and the government are terrorists

  • edward

    Terrorists are those who seek to use terror to further political aims. They tend not to conform to the Geneva conventions.

    Posted by Congal Claen on Feb 26, 2009 @ 05:52

    So then virtually every state and protestant organization is in truth a terrorist organization

    The very state of nIreland was founded on a bedrock of terrorism

    the oo has been a a terrorist orgnization since its very inception

    every united kingdom police or armed forces organization for 800 years have been terroriss

    the uup and its paramilitary wing bspecials/rir/ruc/et al had exactly the same relationship as Sinn Fein and the IRA

    the dup has known ties to terrorists, some terrorist organizations and the dup share the exact same founders

    infact every unionist who has ever existed should claim ties to terrorists

    the only difference between republicans and unionists is that republicans are more honest with themselvs

  • Democratic

    “the only difference between republicans and unionists is that republicans are more honest with themselvs”
    Yes Edward – your postings are evidence of this very statement of course……BTW what has any of that got to do with a “Hierarchy of Victims” – we all have one – there will always be one – and very few people will have trouble with exactly how it operates – outside of Republican circles obviously……and you lot have your “own” twisted version anyway…
    This attempted water-muddying lark now has become a bad joke….

  • Democratic

    Seriously are there any Republicans who don’t share the “there are no such things as innocent victims in Northern Ireland” line – I find it nauseous in the extreme to be honest….

  • edward

    I never said there is no such thing as innocent victims I said who is an innocent victim depends on which perspective you take

    Your version is not every one elses

    For instance according to wee willie unionist paramilitaries are all innocent victims

  • Democratic

    “I never said there is no such thing as innocent victims I said who is an innocent victim depends on which perspective you take”
    Exactly – it depends on how you see your own “heirarchy of victims” – mine will not look like yours of that I am sure, maybe it won’t look like the state’s either – nor does it look like “Wee Willie Winkie’s” it seems…..
    What I would say though is what I have already said – Innocent should mean innocent in anyone’s term’s – Unionist or Republican labels become irrelevant – and people of any walk of life who were non-combatants with no paramilitary or even to a lesser extent security force links should top everyones victim tree – there is no wriggle room here for me!

  • Congal Claen

    Hi Edward,

    “the only difference between republicans and unionists is that republicans are more honest with themselvs”

    Yes, yes Edward. That’s why the loyalists had “murder squads” yet republicans had “brave volunteers”.

    To non apologists they were both terrorists and therefore not innocent victims.

  • Edward

    Congal

    But the difference is the nationalist communities own their terrorists the unionists are forever denying them their place

    “we only vote mainstream nonviolent political parties like UUP(the largest terrorist organization ever formed in Ireland) or DUP(the least succesful unionist terrorist organization)”

  • Congal Claen

    Edward,

    You need to lay off the crack pipe.

  • Edward

    I don’t do any drugs harder than aspirin but thats just trying to be a distraction because you don’t want to confront uncomfortable truths.

    As a troll I recognize the easy tricks, you need to become more sophisticated

  • Barnshee

    Edward

    Try looking for murdered people who definitely were NOT terrorists.

    HINT start with children, then move on to people shopping. then look a people in restaurants minding there own business

    With me so far?

    Then look for the organistion responsible

  • Congal Claen

    Hi Edward,

    It’s yourself that seems confused. For instance, when you tried to drag every single unionist organisation and state security service into the description of terrorist you seemed to omit the Garda, Irish Army or any Nationalist party. Strange that. You seem to think that it’s a unionist/republican thing. It’s not. It’s right and wrong. And it’s very simple. But I’m the troll???

  • Edward

    Barnshee

    I get that there are some very obvious innocent victims I was dealing with the grey areas, where is the cut off and what is the definition of innocent victim and where do you stop?

    Congal

    You already consider those organizations terrorists so there was no need to mention them

  • Edward

    Congal

    I never called you a troll just that you were trying one of the oldest tricks in the troll arsenal, the only one more obvious is invoking godwins law

  • Earnan

    There are hundrends of victims I’m sure both sides of the aisle/divide could agree on as being unquestionably innocent.

    But sooner or later there are some that victims that people disagree on. Who gets to make the final decision in that case???

  • barnshee

    “I get that there are some very obvious innocent victims I was dealing with the grey areas, where is the cut off and what is the definition of innocent victim and where do you stop?”

    Just keep going sunshine– move on from my original criteria to add those going about their legitimate business — you will arrive at “the grey areas” let me know who you find there

    Bottom up works every time