Select Committee on Northern Ireland Affairs Written Evidence


Memorandum submitted by Rev Dr David Clements

  I understand that your committee will be looking at issues relating to healing the past here in Northern Ireland and I very much welcome that.

  Briefly, my background is that my father was murdered by the IRA in 1985, As a Methodist minister I have served in Enniskillen, Warrenpoint, Belfast (Shankill Rd and Belvoir.) Because of my experience, personal and pastoral, I have taken an active interest in "victims issues". For about 10 years I have served on the management committee of WAVE, the main organisation that provides support for all kinds of victims of the Troubles across the Province.

  I understand that the President of the Methodist Church in Ireland gave you the draft of some work that I and a few others have been doing here on the issue.

  I would like to raise two matters with you now.

  Firstly, I am concerned that discussions about healing the past should not take place without victims (those who have been hurt the most over the years) being at the centre. Paul Murphy publicly raised the issue last May—before he went to South Africa—but to the best of my knowledge, and I have asked the question in a number of places, virtually no one who is a victim or who works in the field has as yet been consulted.

  Secondly whatever may be the outcomes of this process, we need to make sure that victims and those who work with them are supported and resourced to continue valuable work. When an organisation like WAVE has its core funding cut the Government sends out a very worrying signal. (I will not go into detail, but if this is a matter the committee would be able to look at I would be pleased to pass on all the relevant background.)

  I look forward to watching your progress on this issue and if I can contribute in any way I will gladly do so.

11 November 2004

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