“DO you actually think that the commission can be seen as independent and neutral in this present context with Mr Nesbitt’s position as being party political within that? What effect or what has to be done to ensure that the perception people have in regard to the commission is actually rectified in the near future?” Mid Ulster MLA Francie Molloy whinged about the Victims Commission at the OFMDFM committee hearing yesterday at the Assembly.
Is this a stupid question? Of course it is. Because we all know that the reason there are four commissioners and not one, is because each is perceived as representing a strand of political opinion.
BUT… “The appointment of an independent, four-person Victims Commission represents a major step forward in ensuring that all of the many different needs, backgrounds and experiences of the many people who have lost loved ones and suffered during the conflict are dealt with on an equal basis,” said one MLA in January 2008.
And which sectarian headcounter might this be? Well that would be Sinn Fein’s Francie Molloy. So that’s that – I imagine Sinn Fein will now shut up on this issue.
Now, to answer Francie’s question and maintain the sectarian balance of ‘equality’, the UUP need to get someone back in to the Victims Commission. So who is it Reg? You have a little leverage right now, so will you spit it out now, or after the general election? Speaking of Vic Comms and elections, Candidate Nesbitt – formerly of UTV news fame – has launched his new website. Some of the spiel demonstrates a willingness to be open and communicate with voters – hell, he’s even engaged in the comments (hope it lasts!). On the downside, he’s demonstrated a willingness to be very open; which may lead to foot-in-mouth disease or conflict with the party leadership. Given that it’s Iris’s seat he’s gunning for, surely the DUP must be worried, so this could become another rather dirty affair…