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'Hooded Man' brings legal challenge over Troubles pensions

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Seven of the 14 Hooded Men – Jim Auld (l to r), Patrick McNally, Liam Shannon, Francie McGuigan, Davy Rodgers, Brian Turley and Joe Clarke (Brian Lawless/PA)

Seven of the 14 Hooded Men – Jim Auld (l to r), Patrick McNally, Liam Shannon, Francie McGuigan, Davy Rodgers, Brian Turley and Joe Clarke (Brian Lawless/PA)

PA Wire/PA Images

Seven of the 14 Hooded Men – Jim Auld (l to r), Patrick McNally, Liam Shannon, Francie McGuigan, Davy Rodgers, Brian Turley and Joe Clarke (Brian Lawless/PA)

One of the so-called 'Hooded Men' has won High Court permission to challenge the impasse over pensions for victims of the Troubles in Northern Ireland.

Brian Turley was one of those detained and subjected to special interrogation methods by the British military in the early 1970s as the conflict raged.

The 14 men were taken to a secret location where techniques including being forced to wear hoods, thrown to the ground from low-flying helicopters and then deprived of sleep, food and drink.

Known as the Hooded Men, they also endured continuous loud noise and prolonged wall-standing as part of the alleged torture methods.

Mr Turley launched legal action amid delays in the pension scheme for Troubles’ victims.

The scheme, which was due to open last month, has been held up by a dispute between Westminster and Stormont over who funds the estimated £100 million costs over the first three years.

Mr Turley’s lawyers insist he has suffered long-term health effects due to the treatment he was subjected to.

His legal challenge is being taken against the Secretary of State and the Executive Office.

At a hearing today Mr Justice McAlinden granted leave to seek a judicial review on the basis that he has established an arguable case the delay is unlawful, his solicitor confirmed.

Darragh Mackin, of Phoenix Law, said: “Our client contends that the current impasse is, and remains, unlawful.

“He warmly welcomes the comments today by the Court that the issues at the heart of this case are exceptional and require urgent determination.”

Mr Mackin added: “It is clear from both the underlying legislation in this case that both the Executive Office and the Secretary State have a role to play.

“Such obligations are unavoidable and require all steps to include the funding of the scheme in place.

We now look forward to the hearing of this matter so that the issues at the heart of this can be resolved.”

Belfast Telegraph