Belfast Telegraph

Army civilians to lose out on danger money

By Donna Deeney

Civilian workers at a military base during the worst of the Troubles are missing out on thousands of pounds given to colleagues in other bases because they were made redundant first.

Employees who worked for the Ministry of Defence after the ceasefires have benefited, but a loophole in the Financial Recognition Award scheme has left dozens of people denied a payout by the MoD.

The Financial Recognition Award scheme was set up for civilian workers employed by the MoD made redundant between August 2006 and December 2008.

It excludes workers from Ebrington in Londonderry because it was closed, three years before the scheme started, in 2003.

Among those missing out is Russell Scott. He worked as an employee for the MoD for 21 years until he was made redundant in 2005 after working in three bases in Derry, including Ebrington.

“My understanding of this award is that it is given in recognition to employees whose lives were under threat and that certainly was me and my colleagues,” he said. “We worked at Ebrington at the height of the Troubles at a time when the IRA stated anyone working for the security forces was a ‘legitimate target’ and our employers accepted that too.

“We were given security training every six months, about keeping ourselves safe journeying to and from work, but because we were made redundant before 2006 we go unrecognised.

“It is ironic that people who worked for the MoD after the ceasefire when there was a lot less risk will get this award but those of us who turned up every day when the Troubles were at their height miss out.

“Who picked this date of 2006 and who agreed to it? It certainly wasn't the workers, we weren't consulted.

“It’s the injustice of it all that's the worst, a real slap in the face for those of us who took real risks for the MoD.”

DUP MP Gregory Campbell has taken up the mantle on behalf of workers and wants David Cameron to intervene on their

behalf. He said: “I have written on several occasions to the Minister for Defence Personnel Welfare and Veterans Andrew Robathan MP and also met with him on this matter.

“However, there remains no indication that such a Financial Recognition Award is to be granted as a result of earlier redundancy dates for these personnel,” he added.

“Civilians, who were employed in MoD establishments, worked in exceptionally difficult circumstances, and a number of their colleagues were murdered in the course of such work for the security forces.

“Former Ebrington MoD civilian staff are being discriminated against on the basis of an arbitrary date set by the MoD.

“I have written to the Prime Minister to intervene, and to ask if there is any possibility that this matter can be resolved by Her Majesty’s Government.

“This would be a tangible expression of gratitude to people who deserve the small amount already paid to others in identical circumstances.”

Quotes

“Civilians, who were employed in MoD |establishments, worked in exceptionally difficult circumstances and a number of their colleagues were murdered in the course of such work for the security forces.

“Former Ebrington MoD civilian staff are being discriminated against on the basis of an arbitrary date set by the MoD.

- Gregory Campbell MP

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