Niall Ó Murchú, Co. Antrim

Niall's 17 year old uncle and Godfather Ciaran Murphy was killed by loyalists in 1974 when Niall was one month old. Niall said his uncle’s murder destroyed his grandmother’s life. Now working as a lawyer in Belfast dealing with conflict-related deaths and injuries, Niall was his grandmother’s carer in her older years, until her death 10 years ago.

He gave his reasons for joining the Forum:

“Having seen the effect that my uncle’s death – carried out by loyalists acting as state agents - had on my family, I am passionate about issues that affect victims and survivors. I grew up in Ardoyne, a community which was attacked constantly during the conflict. The impact on my neighbours and friends was, and is, awful. Hundreds of people died in my area and I don’t want it to happen ever again.”

Niall described how his professional experience will help in his work with the Forum:

“I have been working in the field of human rights law since 2010 and I hope that my experience contributes positively to the debate within the Forum, so that our agreed positions best provide a voice for victims and survivors.”

He is positive about the Forum’s possible achievements, including reaching agreement on the implementation of the pension for the injured.

“I hope that the Forum agrees a position on how legacy matters as a whole can be dealt with so that maximum pressure is exerted onto the Westminster government. I hope that by 2019 the Forum will have put forward agreed positions in all our areas of work that will have had a positive effect beyond the Forum, resulting in implementation of all successful programmes for victims and survivors. It is my opinion that engagement with all governments, particularity Westminster, is essential. I also believe that a strong united Forum, lobbying for change and progress among local elected representatives, can deliver for victims and survivors.”