Donaldson tries to change victim definition

The DUP’s Jeffrey Donaldson has launched a public consultation (pdf here) on his private member’s bill to change the definition of a victim (there is a web site link as well). The bill would seek to narrow the definition of a victim. Donaldson stated: “It is about how we deal with the past, and what we are not prepared to countenance is a rewriting of the Troubles where the perpetrators, whoever they are, who carried out acts of terrorism are placed on a par with the thousands of people they killed and maimed.
“I want to see the process moving on and a Northern Ireland that puts the past behind it but in seeking to deal with the past, it is important we clearly understand that there was wrongdoing and that wrongdoing is recognised.”

Sinn Fein and the SDLP have rejected the proposal with Martin McGuinness promising to stop the bill. Sinn Fein MLA Francie Molloy said:
“The current classification came about after years of consultation and painstaking campaigning by victims’ organisations with the support of Sinn Fein,
Given the universal view on this issue amongst those groups representing victims of British state violence I would fully expect the SDLP to join with us in blocking this offensive electioneering by the DUP.”

SDLP assembly member Alex Attwood said he was “totally unsupportive” of the plan.
“The feelings and circumstances of those who have lost relatives need to be remembered, including where family members were misguided, wrong or acting illegally,”

Relatives for Justice spokesperson (and Victims’ Forum member)Mark Thompson who was interviewed on Radio Ulster also rejected the proposals but seemed to imply that within the Victims’ Forum discussion of the definition of a victim could occur. However, as the Victims’ Commission pointed out: “The commission will facilitate discussion on the definition by the new victims and survivors forum later this month, but will remind forum members that the power to change the definition rests with our politicians.”

Jim Allister has criticised Donaldson’s strategy and, no matter how much Donaldson would like to change the definition, it is unclear how his proposals can have any likelihood of success. The only possible benefit would be that highlighting the unpopularity of the current definition of a victim with this exercise may help pressurise the government in its response to Eames Bradley. However, Donaldson must appreciate that his current plan’s stated aim is doomed to failure.

  • joeCanuck

    The “victim” designation argument will never end, ever, as this longish thread adequately demonstrates..
    We really do need to accept that many people died, unnecessarily for the most part and move on. Most people killed and injured in every “war” are collateral damage (what an ugly euphemism).
    We grieve and try to put our lives back together.

  • Democratic

    “That stance frees every corrupt politician of their share of the blame for creating the unholy mess that was and is NI.”
    Explain please if you can Mayoman – my stance on non-combatants being in a completely different moral ballpark from bombers and killers has absolutely no bearing on the guilt that can be assigned to our various politians over the years for magnifying our troubles. In fact I have yet to see any Republican directly address my point – preferring instead to snipe from the side-lines or trying desparately to find a hole in this moral position that they exploit so (it seems to me) that they can start convincing themselves they swallow this fudge too….

  • Democratic

    Further to my point above – I will elaborate further – any attempt to imply some sort of moral equivalence between every single injured party in the troubles regardless of their guilt or innocence as regards violence or membership of armed groups is quite patently intellectually dishonest and it follows that the universal catchism of “victims” is morally and ethically defunct in such circumstances. A spade must be called a spade sometimes even if it isn’t “politically correct” or seems “bitter” to come out and point at the elephant in the living room.

  • mayoman

    Democratic: “any attempt to imply some sort of moral equivalence between every single injured party in the troubles regardless of their guilt or innocence as regards violence or membership of armed groups is quite patently intellectually dishonest”

    I’m interested in this, I really am. So just let me get this right. Anyone, who has ever had any connection with any armed group, or supported the use of violence, or was involved in ‘terrorism’ as defined by either a) a nationalist or b) a unionist is not entitled to the title of ‘victim’?

    I’ll let you think about it before you answer. But, unless you are going back on your ‘intellectually dishonest’ statement, that must be the case, yes?

  • Democratic

    Mayoman (back to the attempts to muddy-water again I see – however) My personal view is this – no-one who was active in the conflict as an armed combatant or a member of an armed group is a victim in the same sense as a man like my Grandfather or any other number of non-combatant men, women and children whose lives were either ruined or taken from them by those who were active militarily. Those who became active militarily declined their status as victims and became combatants and lost such associated moral standing when they did so. I really am tiring of reiterating exactly the same ethos again and again to those who understand the logic just fine.
    Any attempt to address the point Mayoman rather than simply trying to find a hole in the moral?
    I assume another list of theoretical scenarios are being prepared as I write perhaps. I’ll save you the hassle – what about?
    The IRA man who blew up a Protestant pub after all his brothers were killed coming home from a GAA game by Loyalists?
    Or if you prefer the British Army man who shot a young man in the back as he ran away from a checkpoint 2 months after his whole squad was killed in a mortar attack on his barracks perhaps? You know my answers…..

  • Democratic

    Furthermore Mayoman – if there is a case as you said for people like Billy Wright to be be considered a “victim” (and current official guidelines agree with you) in the narrowest possible terms then a new term needs to be given to innocent non-combatants to distinquish them from people like him and his ilk. Search your consciences people!

  • Mayoman

    Deomcratic, would you regard members of the ‘armed’ RUC as combatants? What about the UDR? What about members of the DUP involved in Ulster Resistance? What about UUP politicians who were political advisors to UDA men?

    Are you saying, for example, that RUC men who were killed were not victims?

  • Mayoman

    Missed your additional point Democratic, and you may well have a point there, one I would find hard to disagree with.

  • Democratic

    Mayoman – I regard the all state-forces as armed combatants – I thought I had made this clear already. For state forces here during the troubles the sad truth even for those who discharged their duty responsibly was that death was very much a job hazard. As such casualties I think is the internationally regarded term.

  • Mayoman

    With your last comment (no. 7 on this page) then, Democractic, we have broadly reached a consensus.

  • Mayoman

    No. 6 sorry!

  • Democratic

    Thanks Mayoman – if only 2 of us can reach some sort of agreement on the matter then the whole exercise was not a waste of everyone’s time.

  • John East Belfast

    Democratic

    The Police and army were not casualties – this was not a legitimate war as far as the State was concerned – it was violent criminality. The vast majority of those arrested were given a fair trial and 20,000 plus spent time in prison thereafter.
    It was the job of the Police supported by the British military to uphold UK Law and they did that job in the vast majority fo cases admirably.

    This discussion is about how the State defines a Victim – not how the IRA or UVF defines one – they can have their own ghastly memorials etc.

    Therefore the State should make its decision based around the concern for its innocent citisens and those who were endeavouring to protect them under the rule of UK Law not the perpetrators of crime

    My view is any of the following are NOT a Victim

    Anyone who was given a Paramilitary Funeral

    Anyone who was injured but subsequently found guilty of being involved in a criminal activity whilst incurring that injury.

    The rest can all be decsribed as Victims

  • Sean

    JEB

    The state being a criminal enterprise there for makes all its armed paramilitaries criminals and according to you not victims.

    See you do agree

  • kensei

    JEB

    Anyone who was injured but subsequently found guilty of being involved in a criminal activity whilst incurring that injury.

    Quite. We should just exterminate all those criminal scum, what what, and to hell with “due process” and “the rule of law”. Give us the B Specials back and we’d sort them all out in a week.

  • RepublicanStones

    So a state which was party to murder, equipped those who carried out murder, and which has refused independent enquiries into said activity gets to decide who constitutes a victim. Nice !

  • fin

    JEB, 5 Cops have rang in sick to an inquest of a nationalist this week, this week nationalists have started legal proceedings against the Chief Constable to explain the employment of a loyalist bandsman by the PSNI who passed information to terrorists, the coroner this week ordered (yet again) the Chief Constable to release ‘shoot to kill’ files, this week the Cops involved in the Hamill case continue to tie themselves in knots. Thats just this week.

    Following Danny Morrisons recent court case there are 300 court cases pending against the police.

    The RUC and UDR were disbanded/reformed because they were unacceptable to 45% of the population of NI.

    It was estimated that upto 15% of the UDR were unionist terrorists, who knows the percentage for the RUC.

  • Reader

    fin: It was estimated that upto 15% of the UDR were unionist terrorists,
    Interesting figure. So, if we take 15% of all of the people who were ever in the UDR, divide by the fraction of convicted loyalists who were in the UDR then (rattles abacus). Yep. Every single prod in Ireland was a unionist terrorist except the other 85% of the UDR, plus me, my dad and my brother…

  • Sean

    Reader

    Thats exactly the kind of math your sort uses on Sinn Fein, sucks being hoisted on your own petard

  • Big Maggie

    Sean,

    “Thats exactly the kind of math your sort uses on Sinn Fein”

    Your sort, tsk. And we ask ourselves why there’s so little rapprochement in Northern Ireland.

  • Sean

    Come on Maggie can’t I use their own words against them

  • Big Maggie

    Sean,

    “Come on Maggie can’t I use their own words against them”

    Sure, of course, and fair play to you. I was simply querying your use of “your sort”.

    I’ve followed your comments for some time and I think you’re dead on. Call me picky but I think that turn of phrase isn’t quite YOU :^)

  • Sean

    No, but it is quit “them”

  • Big Maggie

    Sean,

    True. But I think you should show “them” that you hold the moral high ground.

  • Sean

    Maggie

    There is no moral high ground on teh hinternets

  • west belfast

    My victim is more important than your victim – a recipe for disaster.

    Unionism is the biggest threat to the Union!

    Why does unionism refuse to think what it was like to live in West Belfast, the Bogside or any of the countless republican working class areas. My experience was that the British Army and RUC were the agressors and my community stood up to them. In doing that republicans inflicted great injustices on many within our society but to say that republicans were not also victimised is naive and nothing short of sectarian.

    The war is over and yes it was a war – the only people who want to drag us back to the dark days are the dissidents and elements within unionism.

  • barnshee

    18.fin: It was estimated that upto 15% of the UDR were unionist terrorists,

    It is estimated that 50% of RC`s were IRA terrorists

  • barnshee

    Why does republicanism refuse to think what it was like to live in east Belfast, the shankill or any of the countless protestant working class areas.( and in what was was it different to west belfast) My experience was that the British Army and RUC were the protectors and my community stood up for them.

  • Sean

    steerage class trolling barnshee…… try harder next time

  • west belfast

    Barnshee

    A weak and woeful comeback!!!

    I accept your point of view – do you accept mine? Also do you accept that the RUC and Army inflicted terror on my community just as I accept the IRA inflicted terror on your community.

    Can I also remind you that West Belfast suffered more than any community from all during the War.

  • Driftwood

    Can I also remind you that West Belfast suffered more than any community from all during the War.

    West belfast suffered more than the Russians or the Poles? The last Major war involving our troops. The last war that involved the UK was the Falklands, other than peacekeeping missions in Kosovo, Sierra Leone, Middle east.
    Are you referring to the military role supporting the police against criminal gangs here 1969-2008?
    I would suggest West Belfast suffers more from a benefits dependency culture on the British taxpayer more than any other UK region.
    Have you ever thought of getting a job? Like most people in East Belfast, South Belfast etc,…

  • picador

    It emerged in court this week that Jeffrey Donaldson MP has been secretly lobbying the NIO to provide a large sum of money to Jackie Mahood, a convicted terrorist described by the Observer as ‘a co-founder of the LVF’. Mr Mahood’s taxi business was put out of business by the UVF during a 2005 feud. He was looking for £400,000.

    More at:

    ‘Victims Campaigner’ Donaldson Lobbies on Behalf of Loyalist Terrorist

  • pico doir

    “Jackie Mahood, a convicted terrorist ”

    what is your definition of a terrorist as opposed to a victim ?

  • RepublicanStones

    Very interesting picador. I thought the chubby Daniel O’Donnell hated men of violence. Reminds me of what some dipso gurgled in my ear in a pub one time

    “Theres two types of people I hate in this world…homos and bigots”

  • picador

    pico doir,

    I was deliberately using the type of terminology that Jeffrey would use(in public). In private it seems he’s a very different fish altogether and swims with some ‘colourful’ people. I believe Mr Mahood once ‘shot up’ a public house and spent some time at Her Majesty’s Pleasure.

  • Wilde Rover

    Driftwood,

    “The last war that involved the UK was the Falklands, other than peacekeeping missions in Kosovo, Sierra Leone, Middle east.”

    About that peacekeeping mission in the Middle East…

    http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=994

    It’s all a bit of a sick joke.

  • barnshee

    A weak and woeful comeback!!!`

    4.steerage class trolling barnshee…… try harder next time

    Doncha just love it when you piss them off

    1 How exactly did the prods stop you being 1 eg
    Doctors
    dentists
    Solicitors
    Nurses
    Teachers
    Bank employees
    Social workers
    Customs Officers\Tax officials
    accountants
    plumbers
    brickies etc etc—-

    waiting…
    2 How “property vote” fail to disadvantage prods in the same way as micks?

    waiting..

  • Sean

    You didn’t piss me off that was just some very weak trolling and I know you can do better

  • west belfast

    Who exactly are “them” Barnshee? I think you may have lost the plot!

    You can wait for the next bus to Purdysburn for all I care – but before you do please answer my question and stop the sectarian narrow minded nonsense (and that goes for you too Driftwood).

    I’ll ask my question again (v e r y s l o w l y) – do you accept my point of view as I accept your original point of view (before your sectrianism got the better of you!).

    Now Driftwood I’ve thought long and hard whether to reply to your racist tirade. I thought I should rise above it and take the moral high ground … but then again!

    I know how afraid you are of us people of west belfast and I know how you hark back to the days when the fenians knew their place. I know seeing Martin McGuinness as your joint leader of the ‘wee pravince’ churns your guts and how it hurts you that those ‘criminal gangs’ you allude to run this part of Ireland.

    I know how let down you feel that your British Government allowed the prisoners to be freed and destroyed the RUC. I know you are pissed off that the only job a good Protestant boy can get is in the British Army when he will be shipped over to a country he can’t even spell. I know you hark back to the days of the shipyards when all a young boy from east belfast had to do was say his name and he got a job.

    I know you are pissed off that you and your ilk couldnt defeat those uneducated, benefit lovers of west belfast and countless other republican areas.

    I know that you are pissed off that the Catholic education system is the envy of the working classes of south and east Belfast.

    I know that you are pissed off that loyalist paramilitaries have ravaged their own communities and flooded their young people with drugs and a lawlessness that is out of countrol – all with the tacit and direct support of the RUC and the British Government!

    Now I know you will be thinking of what tirade you can come back with … I’m sure there will be some mention of administering British rule etc – a valid argument which I will happily reply to but please no more sectarian nonsense.

  • Barnshee

    “My experience was that the British Army and RUC were the aggressors and my community stood up to them. In doing that republicans inflicted great injustices on many within our society but to say that republicans were not also victimised is naive and nothing short of sectarian.”

    Here we have the parallel of the child who murders his parents then pleads for leniency on the grounds that he/she is an orphan. The catholic republican community attacked the police/army.

    Aggressor
    “offender, wrongdoer – a person who transgresses moral or civil law. ambusher – an attacker who waits in a concealed position to launch a surprise attack “

    The aggressor (by definition) strikes the first blow — starting in 1968 (if you like) the aggressor would appear to be the catholic community in Derry–. ably supported subsequently by the west Belfast contingents

    Unfortunately there is baggage involved– We have been here before regularly– for each generation—try http://www.victims.org.uk/altnaveigh.html for a previous outing

    The point I made was that working class estates –prod and mick –suffered the same disadvantages. The catholic community attacked the police not the other way round. Compare the police response to their treatment at the hand of the catholic community.

    Perhaps you could outline how

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Claudy_bombing

    or

    Bloody friday IRA Civilians killed in 22 bombs in Belfast. Bodies so badly dismembered that death toll is uncertain. 2 children and 2 soldiers among the dead.

    represents the view that “ my community stood up to them. “

    “I know how let down you feel that your British Government allowed the prisoners to be freed and destroyed the RUC. “

    Yes and no NONE of the murderers should have been allowed out –people like Michael Stone should remain behind bars for ever. The RUC reform was long over due I wholehearted support it.

    ” I know you are pissed off that the only job a good Protestant boy can get is in the British Army when he will be shipped over to a country he can’t even spell. I know you hark back to the days of the shipyards when all a young boy from east belfast had to do was say his name and he got a job.”

    The shipyard has been a dead duck since the 60`s “good”– protestant boys seem to do OK from where I sit I ”bad” “ protestant boys –well that as you say is another story

    “I know you are pissed off that you and your ilk couldnt defeat those uneducated, benefit lovers of west belfast and countless other republican areas.”

    Again no -I am pissed off because the money that should have been spent on infrastructure etc was wasted via the “troubles” as they are so quaintly called .

    “I know that you are pissed off that the Catholic education system is the envy of the working classes of south and east Belfast.
    Absolutely not– I am delighted for them (although as with parts of the prod system (methody,etc ) I feel its more to do with intake and parental support then anything else)

    “I know that you are pissed off that loyalist paramilitaries have ravaged their own communities and flooded their young people with drugs and a lawlessness that is out of control – all with the tacit and direct support of the RUC and the British Government! “

    I am indeed pissed of with drug problem (which I believe is not confined to any particular community) http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/foyle_and_west/8266608.stm
    Part of the problem is the general ineffectiveness of the PSNI this is in part due to the (very sensible in my view) determination not to be “caught” the way the RUC was. Bomb in S Armagh? Gunmen in Meigh? Portadown —Drugs –depends where ? The police stay clear– can`t be accused of anything- same applies to w Belfast –had a cop tell me “ I don`t give a fuck if the eat each other I`m not getting hurt for anyone” and no– he was not a prod.

    I hope the above clarifies my post for you —examine the events from a historical viewpoint and again let me repeat my question

    How exactly did the prods stop you being
    Doctors
    dentists
    Solicitors
    Nurses
    Teachers
    Bank employees
    Social workers
    Customs Officers\Tax officials
    accountants
    plumbers
    brickies etc etc——
    waiting…
    How “property vote” fail to disadvantage prods in the same way as micks?