NORTH Antrim TUV Assemblyman Jim Allister has accused Stormont of snubbing Victims Day.
In a statement the TUV leader said: “I am dismayed to learn – just two days before a memorial event will take place – that the Assembly Commission have refused my request to have Stormont lit in red to mark memorial day for innocent victims of terrorism.
“I have been hosting an event at Stormont to mark this significant date since I was first elected to the Assembly.
“It has become the largest annual event held in the building. Last year two events had to be held – with the second arranged at very short notice because of the surge in demand – to accommodate the numbers attending.
“In order to avoid an issue this year a decision was taken to postpone the event until the evening thus enabling us to use Stormont’s largest space, the Great Hall.
“It is already clear that the Great Hall will be filled to capacity on Friday when the event commences at 7pm.
“Last year Stormont was lit up in red in honour of the day but because the event was in the morning all the innocent victims were long gone before the building was lit and therefore denied the opportunity to see the building lit in a way which paid tribute to their loved ones.
“I had hoped that this year those attending the event for innocent victims – which include a large number of disabled and elderly people – would be able to see the building lit up when they arrived. The Assembly Commission has, however, decreed that this is not to be.
“I find it quite shocking that the Assembly Commission cannot find it within itself to permit such a small but important token of respect for innocent victims.
“The Commission, which is chaired by the Speaker, but representing all the main parties ought to be ashamed of itself.
“I have written to the Commission asking why a decision on this matter was left until so late in the day and asking them to reconsider.
“I would stress that the event is going ahead on Friday and I have no doubt that, as was the case in other years, it will prove to be worthwhile.”
DUP Mid Ulster MLA and Chief Whip in the NI Assembly Keith Buchanan said: “The DUP supports lighting the building red to mark European Day for Victims of Terrorism.
“The lack of support from some parties for this is deeply disappointing, immature and a very poor reflection on the institutions.
“Victims of terrorism come from all faiths and none. They deserve to be respected.
“I trust the parties opposing this act of recognition will reflect on their hurtful decision.
“We are exploring what further measures can be taken to secure a sensible and respectful outcome.”
- Statements can be sent to email@example.com