Tuesday, August 25, 2015

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Department Of Justice Causing Distress

Kate Nash, a Bloody Sunday family member, with a statement about a meeting in Derry tomorrow which is going ahead despite an attempt by the Department of Justice to pull the rug from under it. 

The Department of Justice recently held what they termed three stakeholder workshops on dealing with the past with legislation expected to go before Westminster in September as part of the Stormont House agreement.


As part of this process the DOJ invited select groups to attend these workshops yet neglected to inform families of many victims. When this was discovered relatives of some of those who lost their lives during the troubles immediately challenged the DOJ on what they felt were closed shop proceedings. 

As a result of this challenge the Department of Justice agreed to meet with victims' families and other interested parties. To facilitate this meeting at their own expense family members booked and paid for a function room in a City Centre Hotel in Derry and set about inviting a broad range of victims to attend a meeting in Derry on 26th August 2015. 

At 6.20pm this evening (25th/8/15) Brian Grzymek, Deputy Director of the Justice Department's Legacy Unit advised the organisers on the following:
I am emailing you to confirm that The DOJ will not be in a position to send officials to the meeting in Derry tomorrow.

I appreciate that you will be disappointed at this late withdrawal and know that you consider this a lost opportunity for us to inform victims’ families of our work on the legislation to establish the HIU and to improve legacy inquest arrangements in Northern Ireland. However, as I indicated, the department is only authorised to engage with stakeholders on the justice dimensions of the Stormont House Agreement and from press contacts and direct conversations with a few intended participants, it became apparent that tomorrow’s meeting was expected to go beyond the scope of this department’s remit relating to the Agreement. In the circumstances it was concluded that it would not be appropriate to send officials who would not have had the authority to discuss broader issues regarding the Agreement.

Yet in correspondence to a Journalist on August 21st a representative from the Justice Department stated the following:
A further workshop has been planned for Derry / Londonderry on 26th August in response to a local request and a number of separate meetings have been taking place with stakeholders who have requested them.
 
It is evident that the DOJ are demonstrating a complete lack of any coherent position and are content to cause further distress to those who have already suffered as a result of the troubles. Stemming from this I would question the capability of the DOJ to deal with the past in a manner that shows any respect or decency for the actual stakeholders, those who lost family members. 

Despite the DOJ refusing to attend tomorrow's meeting relatives and troubles victims will still meet to discuss the implications of the DOJ actions and a way forward from this. Padrigin Drinan a retired human rights lawyer will be attending the discussion to provide an overview on the information currently available.

Please make an effort to attend tomorrows meeting, 2pm (Aug 26th) the Maldron Hotel Derry.

2 comments :

diplockcourts said...

Kate

Since I heard about these workshops the saying: 'If voting changed anything, they'd make it illegal' has been stuck in my head. But then the 'workshop' you refer only came about because of activism. I thought, or hoped, that maybe you guys would get to say your piece and not be ignored after all.

It is clear the DoJ do not want to hear what you have to say and certainly do not want it on record. That can be expected from a very pro-unionist body. But it should also be remembered that SF are not blameless or passive partners in these matters and how people are skimmed over without being afforded the opportunity to make your case.

Remember too that it is the responsibility of the Commission for Victims & Survivors to "promote an awareness of matters relating to the interests of victims and survivors and of the need to safeguard those interests." I find it mind boggling that that organization could have overlooked informing the Bloody Sunday Families such important workshops. Where the Bloody Sunday Families lead the way in campaigning it's obvious they are to be kept at the back of the Que lest they make a better case than David Ford and co want made.

Tomorrows meeting has been badly jeopardized and should be rescheduled at the DoJ's expense. Accordingly, the September deadline should be pushed back to ensure that other areas who have been skipped over are afforded their opportunity to put their case. Westminster can wait -how many time have the people had to see deadlines come and go when it was in the interests of the Stormont parties?

marty said...

It comes as neither surprise or shock that the DOJ pulled out of tomorrows meeting, its a whole different ballgame when those participating are not carefully selected or singing from the same hymn sheet,the DOJ are proving if proof is needed that justice here is not only blind but fucking invisible, was really looking forward to chucking a shoe at those overpaid wasters.