Paul Gallagher, Co. Antrim

On 6th January 1994, UFF gunmen entered Paul’s home. They were on an operation to assassinate Paul’s neighbours. When the neighbours did not arrive home the gunmen shot Paul. He was shot six times and is now paralysed from the waist down.

Paul describes his motivation for joining the Forum:

“I see the Forum as a way of bringing together people with a common bond, that in some way or another we were harmed during our violent troubled past. By coming together on victims’ issues, we can lead the way for others who have yet to find their voice.”

Paul hopes to make a contribution to the Forum in many different ways: “I bring with me a passion to make life better for individual victims and survivors,” he said

“I come to the Forum with deep empathy for all who have been harmed. I have a determination to find common ground and compromise on the issues we face as a society. I seek to bring reason to our debates and to rise above the divided politics that have been so detrimental to this place for so long.”

Paul said he hopes that his participation on the Forum will help achieve consensus on the issues faced by many victims and survivors:

“I am interested in the health, well-being and financial security of victims and survivors,” he said “If we can bring about radical but sound recommendations that will transform the daily lives of many who have been left badly treated, such as a pension for the injured and the bereaved, then I will be satisfied. Now is the time for action on these issues. There are many things that can and should be achieved in a very short time if we can persuade our politicians to agree and implement. I want to focus on ideas that will have a longer-term impact, in 10 or 20 years ahead, for society as a whole. One united victims’ voice should move our society forward.”