This letter appeared in the Irish News on Friday December 19 2014.
IT’S not the first time Newton Emerson (December 11) has a go at Relatives of Justice with the intent of seeking to undermine and impugn the integrity of our work.
Usually we find it best not to rise to affronts from his ivory tower. However, on this occasion we feel it necessary to respond. We also need to make it clear that (RFJ) Relatives for Justice operates an open door non-judgmental policy to families bereaved and people injured in conflict irrelvent of their religion, politics or the circumstances. This core value approach is demonstrated in the people who avail our professional support services who have been affected by all parties to the conflict. We are unsure where Newton gets his figures from but there is a pattern of him not getting the statistical facts right at all on a range of previously published articles concerning the past and work we and many others are involved in. Newton refers to 3 per cent of people being dissatisfied with the HET. Of course this was the figure quoted by the NIO, (Northern Ireland Office), and its pro-counsel, Owen Patterson, quoting directly from a ‘satisfaction survey’ carried out for the HET by Quadriga Consulting – the HET having carefully selected the consultees. Page 70/71 of the HMIC report also criticises the method of consultation selection. It is also known that the HET rejected two previous consultation outcomes and that under the Freedom of Information these were not released to RFJ. Quadriga informed RFJ of the previous two unpublished findings, as they in turn were dissatisifed with the findings being rejected by the HET, as these did not facilitate the ‘desired PR outcome of the HET’. Not surprisingly the ’97 per cent satisfaction’ outcome of the third consultation became the mantra of the NIO – the very same people seeking to keep a lid on the past concerning the state’s past role in the conflict while promoting at every opportunity a deeply flawed and illegal practice by HET concerning British army killings. This of course is also a clear correlation and sequencing of events in what really was a process of pubilc management. Newton needs to stop playing similar silly games for his own political satisfaction. If he wants to comment then ensure its a fair comment and if he’s going to quote statistics then he equally has a public duty in making sure he gets them right.
With many thanks to: Clara Reilly, Chairperson Relatives for Justice, Belfast BT11, The Irish News.