Four new victims' commissioners have been jointly appointed in Northern Ireland, although only one post was advertised.

The new commissioners are RUC widow Bertha McDougal, who was the interim commissioner, Mike Nesbitt, a former television presenter, Brendan McAllister, of the Mediation Network in Belfast, and Patricia MacBride, sister of an IRA man shot dead by SAS soldiers.

Almost 40 people applied for the post and seven were shortlisted for the job.

Originally there was to be just one victims' commissioner, to be paid £65,000 a year. Now all four will receive that salary each.

Making the announcement in the Assembly, Stormont First Minister Ian Paisley said the appointments were a crucial first step towards providing a better service for all of those touched by the Northern Ireland's troubled past.

Some DUP representatives have already defended the need for a wider commission.