Belfast Telegraph

Special pension for those hurt in Troubles demanded

By Michael McHugh

A special pension should be paid to those badly injured during the Troubles, the Victims Commissioner has said.

Some lost limbs or were paralysed by paramilitary activity which ruined their ability to earn a living and save for retirement.

Commissioner Kathryn Stone estimated up to 600 people could benefit and victims believe payments of up to £150 a week should be made.

"We want to ensure that group of people with serious physical injuries have some dignity in their later years and don't have to worry about having enough money to buy oil to heat their homes and to have proper care as they get older," Ms Stone said.

According to the WAVE Trauma Centre – the largest victims group helping those injured or bereaved by the 30-year conflict – estimates of numbers injured range from 8,383 to 100,000.

A 2012 report for the charity noted deteriorating health and increased dependency due to the combination of ageing and limitations caused by injuries, some severe and traumatic and having long-term effects on all aspects of their lives.

They included blast and gunshot damage, loss of limbs and loss of hearing and vision. Some suffered embedded shrapnel injuries which continue to cause pain and distress.

The WAVE report said injured people lacked access to emotional support, counselling, psychological treatment of trauma symptoms, family support and care for carers.

Despite advances in pain management, injured people and service providers reported that it continues to be an unrecognised and under-resourced service.

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