Belfast Telegraph

Political edifice has failed victims, says campaigner whose wife died in bombing

The entire political edifice has failed victims in Northern Ireland, a campaigner whose wife died in the Shankill bomb said.

Alan McBride said he had spent years visiting Stormont pressing for progress on a pension for around 400 people with life-changing injuries from the Troubles.

He said a tiny proportion were maimed through their own actions.

The DUP's Christopher Stalford said there was "hostility" throughout the unionist community to the idea of perpetrators getting a pension, not just within his own party.

Mr McBride said: "It does represent a failure not just of the Executive Office but of the entire political edifice here in terms of moving this forward.

"It is not going to break the bank - it is £3 million.

"Why cannot we look at this and do something that gets it over the line that will benefit people here in this room."

He has been a tireless worker for peace. His wife Sharon was among nine people killed by the IRA in the Shankill fish shop bombing in 1993.

Mr McBride personally would not benefit from a pension, but is active within Northern Ireland's largest victims' group, Wave.

He is also a member of the Human Rights Commission and gave evidence to Stormont's Executive Office Committee.

Mr McBride added: "Not all paramilitaries were bad people, it was just a sign of the times."

Paul Gallagher was left paralysed after he was shot by loyalists at his home in Lenadoon.

He said perpetrators were already receiving money through the Victims and Survivors Service (VSS).

"The sky has not caved in. A pension could be taken over by the VSS and the same thing could be done."

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