Ulster victims meet killers

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The Independent Online
VICTIMS OF terrorist violence in Northern Ireland will come face- to-face with former prisoners under a new scheme aimed at healing divisions, it emerged yesterday.

As Ulster's prisoner release scheme got under way, it was disclosed that both Protestant and Catholic relatives of victims have been asked to sit down with freed paramilitaries.

A group called Victims of Trauma is working with the republican pressure group Saoirse to bring the two sides together in the next fortnight.

"If the victims can sit down and talk with us it might help both sides to see the suffering we have in common," said Martin Meehan of Saoirse, who served more than 20 years for terrorist offences.

The move came as paramilitary prisoners in the Maze were filling in their application forms as the countdown to their release began. The first group could be out by the end of this month.

Mr Meehan said the meeting could involve some of the first prisoners freed under the release scheme set up by the Good Friday agreement. Victims will be notified when prisoners who have offended against them are about to be freed.

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