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Tuesday, 26 September, 2000, 12:53 GMT 13:53 UK
Victims' groups get 700,000
Victims' awareness march
Victims'groups on both sides have benefited from funding
Groups helping victims of the Troubles are to receive more than 700,000 in the latest round of funding from the government.

The projects to benefit are on both sides of the community and from various parts of Northern Ireland.

The money comes from the 3m scheme launched by victims' minister Adam Ingram in January and is administered by the Northern Ireland Voluntary Trust.

Thirteen groups are to benefit from the latest allocation of funds.

The largest amount - 61,000 for each of the next two years - was allocated to the Belfast-based Institute for Counselling and Personal Development, which works with victims on both sides of the community.

At the other end of the scale, Families Acting for Innocent Relatives, or FAIR, the south Armagh group which mostly helps those affected by republican violence, received 2,000.

FAIR spokesman Willie Frazer described the amount as "worse than insulting" and said the group's work would suffer.

"We're being penalised because we're seen as a Protestant organisation, which we are mostly, but more so because we're seen as an anti-agreement organisation."

Avila Kilmurray
Avila Kilmurray: Money won't compensate for suffering of victims
NIVT director Avila Kilmurray defended the allocation to FAIR and said the group should view it as an opportunity to overcome recent difficulties.

"This particular group has a new management committee. It experienced some difficulties over the summer in terms of losing some seven ninths of their management committee.

"So with the new management committee we thought it was important that that management committee had the time to engage in some training in capacity building so they realised what they were taking on."

Earlier she had said money would never compensate for the suffering inflicted on the victims.

"The Trust is aware of the pain, sense of hurt and anger that many victims feel - that is understandable.

"We have also been overwhelmed by the amazing sense of generosity that other individuals who have suffered grievous loss manage to express."

This is the second allocation from the victims' fund which was established after a recommendation in a report by Victims' Commissioner Sir Kenneth Bloomfield.

Approximately 1m was distributed to 11 groups in June and the latest allocation brings to 1.7m the amount already distributed.

Sir Kenneth, the former head of Northern Ireland's civil service and a past governor of BBC Northern Ireland, spoke to hundreds of victims and came up with recommendations to represent and help them.

His report into the effects of violence in the province, "We Will Remember Them" was published in May 1998.

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