Published Wednesday, 11 September 2013
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Opinion was divided over a DUP amendment which "rejected the shift in compensation policy which led to a substantial award".
It came after Sinn Féin put forward a motion condemning the violence over the summer.
Kieran Doherty's naked and bound body was left at a road side after he was shot on the Braehead Road in Londonderry in 2010.
Last month his family got £5,500 from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Appeals Panel.
The motion passed eventually 45 votes to 40, with recently formed party NI21's John McCallister and Basil McCrea voting alongside the SDLP and Sinn Féin.
Foyle MLA Pat Ramsay, who knows the Doherty's, said he found the motion "insensitive."
The SDLP man said: "It homes in on one family, and identifies that family. I spoke to mother Kieran Doherty's mother this morning. That mother finds this motion hurtful and distressing, and it causes her further anguish.
"Are the Members opposite saying to me that Christine Doherty from Derry is a second- or third-class citizen? Are they saying to me that Christine Doherty is a second- or third-class victim in society? She is a mother who is grieving badly and has been traumatised badly by the brutal execution of her son Kieran."
The DUP's Paul Givan, who is also chair of the justice committee, acknowledged the family's pain, but said there could be "no equality of victimhood."
He explained: "It was a brutal death that he was subjected to by the paramilitary organisation of which he was a member. Let me put on record that I understand and appreciate that, for that particular family, the way in which Kieran Doherty lost his life was brutal and is to be condemned. I acknowledge the pain and hurt that they clearly will have felt.
"But very clearly, there should be a hierarchy of victims."
Gerry Kelly from Sinn Féin said that he disagreed with the DUP amendment and that the DUP were trying to turn a positive debate into a negative one.
He continued: "By any reading of the motion, its purpose is to attempt to make a positive move forward as we move into the Haass talks and to have a collective, all-party view of where we are going.
"Let me say what surprised me about the amendment, which we will vote against. First of all, I think that anybody could agree with the motion, but the DUP has decided to change what is a positive motion into a negative and divisive debate, à la yesterday."
Mr McCallister said the debate had degenerated into 'what-aboutery' and politicians at Stormont should be discussing more relevant matters.
He said: "What people out there really want us to be talking about is jobs, the economy, the state of our hospitals and our schools and all of the investment that we should be putting into that instead of spending £28m just literally holding and policing the divide in our society."
A statement from the Justice Minister, David Ford, said: "Already my Department has engaged with a number of victims groups and representatives to talk about the current provision for compensation.
"Next summer I intend to publish a consultation paper to ensure all who have a view will have the opportunity to put those forward to inform proposals for new legislation."
© UTV News