Tom Elliott anger over plan for Stakeknife payments
A senior Ulster Unionist has voiced his deep disgust over planned compensation for eight people whose convictions for kidnapping an IRA informer were overturned because evidence against them came from the British agent Stakeknife.
Former UU leader Tom Elliott has written to the Government demanding a review of the decision, which could involve payments of £200,000 or more.
The NIO said it fully understood and shared "public concern and anger" over payments to the eight recipients, who include the former Sinn Fein director of publicity, Danny Morrison.
Mr Morrison, who could not be contacted yesterday, was one of those convicted in 1991 after they were found in a house in west Belfast with IRA informer Alexander 'Sandy' Lynch, whom they allegedly kidnapped.
Their convictions were quashed because police failed to disclose the role of Freddie Scappaticci, the agent code-named Stakeknife, in providing information which led to the arrests.
An angry Mr Elliott said yesterday it appeared that current or former members of the Provisional IRA and their associates were "a protected species".
"They get money thrown at them while victims are sidelined and the continued existence of the IRA and its army council is ignored by the Government and political parties," the Fermanagh and South Tyrone MP added.
"Those who authorised this should hang their heads in shame. This decision needs to be reviewed before a penny is paid."
Mr Elliott said the plan was "another smack in the mouth for IRA victims" and that it would not be allowed to happen "in any other country".
"Victims and their families will be disgusted," he added. "It gives the impression that crime pays. In some cases, they could receive over £200,000 each, despite the fact that individuals have admitted being present at the scene of the kidnapping."