Donald is a former part-time member of the UDR. He served nine years with the regiment during the 1970s, when he lost many colleagues who were murdered by the IRA. Don is also a former senior officer in the Northern Ireland Fire Service where he served 31 years, attending many incidents linked to the Troubles.
He explained why he wanted to be part of the Forum:
“I joined the Forum because I know people who have been directly impacted as victims and survivors of the Troubles and I want to play a part in helping all those innocent people who have been affected by the events of the last 40 years. My experience in both the UDR and the Fire Service, where I attended many Troubles-related incidents, also influenced my decision.”
Asked what he can bring to the Forum, Don said:
“I believe I can bring maturity, understanding, compassion and my perspective of being a member of the security forces and emergency services, often at the frontline of the ‘Troubles’ , to the various debates that will take place. I hope that by being a good listener, I will achieve acknowledgment and understanding of other people’s perspectives as a victims and survivors. I hope that taking part in various discussions will help move forward the issues that victims and survivors are dealing with.”
Looking ahead to 2019 when the current Forum will have completed its full term, Don’s wish is that the Forum will have made a significant impact on all victim and survivor issues, especially on addressing the legacy of the past:
“It is my sincere hope that I can contribute to ensuring that as a community Northern Ireland society never experiences all that they did experience during the last 40 years.”