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Wednesday, May 13, 1998 Published at 18:35 GMT 19:35 UK

Mixed reception for Bloomfield report
image: [ Bloomfield Report: victims' families have given it a mixed reception ]
Bloomfield Report: victims' families have given it a mixed reception

The Bloomfield report on helping the victims of Northern Ireland's troubles has received a mixed reception.

Two women who have lost family members through violence were divided in their views.

[ image: Pat Campbell:
Pat Campbell: "It's nice to see victims families are being thought of."
Pat Campbell, whose son was murdered six years ago by Loyalists, welcomed the proposals by former Northern Ireland Civil Service head Sir Kenneth Bloomfield.

But Ann Finlay, a Protestant whose Catholic husband was murdered by paramilitaries 20 years ago, said they had come too late for many people.

Mrs Campbell said: "It is nice to see that the victims are being thought about after all this time.

"There has been so much talk about prisoners ... and victims must not be forgotten for the burden they carry."

[ image: Victims arrive to hear the findings of the Bloomfield report]
Victims arrive to hear the findings of the Bloomfield report
Sir Kenneth's report said victims should be just as well served as former prisoners with rehabilitation and assistance with employment.

His report placed special emphasis on reviewing compensation laws and providing practical help for those who have been injured or bereaved.

Mrs Campbell said the proposals meant many of the people who had been "forgotten" would be looked after and would have their ideas and their sorrow taken into account.

She pointed out that although she had been lucky enough to be part of a support group, many people had had no help whatsoever.

Memorial garden idea

The report suggested a public holiday of reconciliation and a permanent memorial, ideas that were also welcomed by Mrs Campbell.

She said she would like to see parkland and a building where people could go to remember their loved ones in peace, with a memorial that was free from vandalism.

Mrs Finlay said the victims had not been taken into account in the recent Stormont negotiations and the Bloomfield report changed little.

"It's come a little bit too late for a lot of us. I think we are really forgotten about at the end of the day. The terrorists have more say than anybody."

She said she would not vote for the Good Friday agreement because of release of paramilitary prisoners.

"I personally don't think people should be released who have done murder. I'm totally against that."

She said she would never be able to forgive the terrorists.

"Yes, there is a lot of reconciliation and a lot of us have lived together over the years, but ... as a Christian, I find it very hard to forgive somebody who ruined my life and has taken my life and my husband' life."

However she did commend Sir Kenneth, who she said had done his utmost.

Meanwhile, the Sinn Fein President, Gerry Adams, has said he wants to help families who say their relatives are victims of Republican violence but whose bodies have never been recovered, another issue covered in the report.

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