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It's an indictment of our society that people badly hurt in the Troubles aren't looked after financially

Letter of the day: abandoned victims

Published 02/12/2016

It is a travesty and an embarrassment to our society that an injury pension has not been put in place for people who were seriously injured in the Troubles. We should be looking after them, as well as the families of those who lost their lives.

In Africa, they say that "when two elephants fight, a lot of grass gets trampled". In Ireland, the "elephants" were narrow and exclusive forms of Irish republicanism and unionism.

As these two flawed ideologies fought it out, many people got hurt, some of them with life-changing injuries. If people like these are not already being looked after properly, there should be adequate provision.

A small number belonged to paramilitary groups: approximately six loyalists and four republicans. Those organisations, with the wealth they have amassed, should already be taking care of their former members, but if that's not the case, they should probably be taken care of by wider society, too.

There is no merit in any family becoming increasingly bitter as a result of the conflict our society suffered.

However, if that idea isn't agreed, perhaps these 10 people could step aside for the time being, or be dealt with separately on the same terms, in order to let around 490 others access payments quickly.

The pension would work best if it was based on need, bearing in mind the individual's personal circumstances, with an emphasis on ensuring no one suffers financially, or experiences destitution.

If the Assembly can't make a timely decision on this issue, Westminster should take responsibility and deduct the cost from Northern Ireland's block grant.

TREVOR RINGLAND

Holywood, Co Down

Belfast Telegraph

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