On 9th January 1974, Paul's father John had his life taken by the UVF. His father was one of three close family members who lost their lives in the conflict. Paul grew up in west Belfast and experienced many conflict-related incidents.
He explained his reasons for joining the Forum:
“I hope that I can help build a better future for all, by addressing the issues of the past through an equal and inclusive dialogue. I believe that the past has informed our present to create our future.”
Paul’s input to the Forum is, he says, informed by his life experience and as a mental health professional:
“I hope to also bring a balanced approach which encourages respect, inclusion discussion and resolution. I bring a focus on the person, on wellbeing and on recovery and/or resolution.”
Asked what he hopes to achieve by being on the Forum, Paul said:
“I hope to learn, to influence, and to raise awareness of post-conflict victim and survivor issues. I hope we can lobby on our collective issues and contribute to the path to resolution for all, as far as that can be realistically achieved. By 2019, I’d like to see the Forum recognised as the voice for victims from every perspective. It’s also my wish that that legacy issues will be resolved because we have achieved the establishment of already agreed structures. I want to see us having separated legacy and victims issues from political and ‘inflictor’ issues and for an understanding that there is no hierarchy of victims. I also hope that services will be freely available and that recovery will be tangible and measurable. I’d like the Forum to have achieved the greatest degree of resolution possible for victims and survivors in the timeframe we have available.”