Denis Bradley of the Eames Bradley Consultative Group on the Past has revealed that the proposal to pay £12,000 to victims families, was endorsed by the Victims Commission.
He disclosed this at a panel discussion at the John Hewitt Summer School, chaired by myself. Victims Commissioner Mike Nesbitt was also on the panel.http://malachi.podcastpeople.com/redirect/media/33828/malachi-o-doherty-33828mp3
After a request for a further interview with the commissioners on this, I received the following statement.
“The Commission for Victims and Survivors met the Consultative Group on the Past on the 22nd October 2008, and were apprised that the Consultative Group were thinking of recommending an ex-gratia payment to widows aged 70 and over.
The Commission offered a formal response on the 13th of November, as follows:
‘CVS welcomes the suggestion that CGDP would recommend an acknowledgment payment be made to families of those who have lost loved ones as a result of the conflict. However, we are concerned that any age weighting criteria would be applied in consideration of these payments, as the acknowledgment of loss has no relation to age.’
Put simply, we were concerned to prevent a situation where there were two neighbours, both widows, but only one received a payment, with the other losing out because she was born a day later than her friend.
It is clear, therefore, that the Commission did not ask the Consultative Group to make the payment. Rather, we advised that if they were going to make such a recommendation, they should beware an arbitrary, age-related cut-off point, and asked them to re-consider their original proposal.
Further, Denis Bradley’s assertion that the Commission linked the payment in any way to our role in establishing a victims’ forum is incorrect.”
It appears that the flak which hit the Eames Bradley Group after the Recognition Payment was proposed should either have been spread more widely, to include the Commissioners, or the Commissioners, to be true to the position they had taken, should have come out more strongly in defence of Eames and Bradley.