Northern Ireland

No plan to replace Nesbitt on Victims Commission

Mike Nesbitt
Image caption Mr Nesbitt will not be replaced

The Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minister (OFMDFM) has confirmed there is no plan to appoint a new victims commissioner.

The commission, which was set up in 2008, originally had four members.

Mike Nesbitt stepped down in February when he became a general election candidate for the Ulster Conservatives and Unionists.

In reply to an assembly question OFMDFM said the commission would work with its "existing complement of staff."

The remaining three commissioners are Patricia MacBride, Brendan McAllister and Bertha McDougall.

The question from UUP deputy leader Danny Kennedy had asked for an update on any plans to appoint a replacement commissioner.

OFMDFM added that the commission is due for a review this financial year and that the department will reassess the situation following the completion of that review.

Four commissioners were appointed after a lengthy process failed to identify anyone who had the necessary political support to do the job on their own.

Speaking on Wednesday, Alliance MLA Trevor Lunn asked why four commissioners were originally appointed.

He said: "The DUP and Sinn Fein originally stated that one victims' commissioner was sufficient, then for whatever reason they appointed four people and yet now they think three commissioners is enough.

"When are they going to make up their minds as to how many we need?

"If another one stands down will the DUP and Sinn Fein then decide that they only need two of them?

"This whole process was a shambles and it remains so."

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