27 April 2017
DUP MEP Diane Dodds has said that the sacrifice of those who served the local community during decades of terrorism in Northern Ireland will never be forgotten.
Member of the EU Agriculture and Rural Development Committee, Substitute member of the EU Fisheries Committee
Commenting after hosting a seminar in Brussels which allowed former security forces personnel from Bangor-based advocacy organisation Decorum NI to share their stories, Mrs Dodds said:
“As our Province faces challenging political times it is understandable that there are fears and frustrations in the wider community. However we should never take for granted the progress secured to date or the service and sacrifice that made it possible.
This week it was an honour to welcome around twenty former security service personnel to Brussels to share their experiences in the European Parliament. The group included former police and prison officers and members of the Armed Forces, all of whom served during the period of Operation Banner, 1969-2007. I know the moving accounts of the impact of terrorism in their lives, and indeed on their families, touched the hearts of EU officials and MEPs in attendance. Many stories typified the courage and relentless dedication of the RUC and UDR.
Across Europe there are those with similar experiences and who hold the same hopes as members of Decorum NI. At the seminar we were privileged to hear from two Spanish MEPs, Mrs Teresa Jimenez Becerril-Barrio and Ms Maite Pagazaurtundúa, both of whom lost siblings at the hands of ruthless ETA terrorists. I know the group were not only humbled and inspired by their powerful stories but encouraged by their positive outlook for the future.
It was also pleasing to hear from representatives of the Radicalisation Awareness Network’s (RAN) Working Group on Remembrance of Victims of Terrorism. This organisation is operated by the European Commission to unite the voices of innocent victims, counter extremism and educate young people across the EU.
It is vital that those who sacrificed enormously in the face of terrorism in Northern Ireland are empowered to play a key role in building the future. We must never confuse an innocent victim with a terrorist or allow rogue revisionism to diminish the unquestionable bravery of our security forces. I believe this hearing has sent a message loud and clear that this service will never be forgotten.
I would like to thank Mitch and all those at Decorum NI for their help and support in making this week’s event a success as well as commend the organisation on its invaluable work within the Armed Forces community.”