Page last updated at 20:40 GMT, Monday, 13 December 2010

Victims and Survivors (Disqualification) Bill

The DUP's Peter Weir conceded from the outset of the debate that his private members bill on victims and survivors would not pass its second stage, on 13 December 2010.

The bill was designed to narrow the current definition of victim under the Victims and Survivors (Northern Ireland) Order 2006.

Mr Weir said it would exclude any person convicted of an offence in connection with any conflict-related incident and those who had been members of proscribed organisations.

He said those on republican and loyalist sides who went out to kill could not be regarded as victims.

SDLP and Sinn Fein members had signed a petition of concern, meaning that the bill had to garner the support of both a majority of unionist and a majority of nationalist MLAs.

Sinn Fein's Francie Molloy said the bill dealt with a sensitive issue in a very crude way. He said there could be no hierarchy of victims.

UUP leader Tom Elliott supported the motion. He said the IRA had been guilty of "ethnic cleansing".

Dolores Kelly of the SDLP opposed the bill. She said some victims groups she had spoken to regarded the bill as unhelpful. They saw it as, "a sham fight between Sinn Fein and the DUP."

The Alliance Party's Stephen Farry said the bill was fundamentally about politics and not about victims.

This was a lengthy debate. Many members spoke of their experiences of conflict.

For technical reasons connected with the petition of concern the vote was delayed until the following day.


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