Commemoration invite to UDA members inappropriate, says campaigner

A campaigner for victims of terrorism today said it was inappropriate for members of the Ulster Defence Association to be invited to a ceremony on Wednesday at which the Queen will lay a wreath in memory of Irish soldiers who died in the First World War.

Five senior members of the loyalist group, which declared a ceasefire in 2007 but is still on the Home Office’s list of proscribed terrorist groups, have been invited by President McAleese to attend the ceremony in Dublin.

But Jude Whyte, whose mother was killed by a loyalist bomb in 1984 and who now runs the Northern Ireland Victims Transition Forum, told BBC Radio 4’s 'PM': “I just find it quite unusual that the brigadiers of a mass murdering organisation are invited to meet the Queen when somebody like me is not.

“I have murdered nobody. I have killed nobody. I represent hundreds, if not thousands of people who died needlessly in this conflict.

“I think it would be far more important if they were invited to Dublin to publicly apologise to their victims... rather than that they meet somebody in this symbolic gesture, which I don’t believe has any real meaning in terms of their redemption.

“What they should be doing is going to visit graveyards.”

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