Belfast Telegraph

IRA victims' families demand Blair explains Gaddafi US payout 'deal'

By Deborah McAleese

Tony Blair could be called to give evidence to the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee over an alleged 'deal' with Colonel Gaddafi over payouts to IRA victims.

The families of three police officers killed in an IRA bomb at Harrods in 1983 have demanded that the former Prime Minister is called to explain alleged involvement in negotiations between the US and Libyan governments.

It has been alleged that intervention by Mr Blair led to a deal in which US victims of IRA bomb attacks received millions of pounds in compensation from Libya, while British victims received nothing.

Mr Blair has always insisted that there is no evidence to suggest he had intervened in the compensation case.

On Wednesday the committee will hold its first public evidence session for its inquiry "into the role of the UK Government in seeking compensation for the victims of IRA attacks made possible by the provision of Semtex and other weapons by the former Gaddafi regime".

According to The Sunday Telegraph newspaper the families of the three police officers killed in the Harrods blast have made submissions to the committee, demanding to know why the British Government failed to secure compensation for them.

Six people died and 90 people were injured in the bombing on Saturday 17, 1983. The family of an American tourist killed in the blast secured around £10m in compensation from Libya. British victims never received any.

Charles Arbuthnot, whose police constable sister Jane was killed, wrote to the committee: "An American can get copious amounts of compensation for losing the life of a loved one at the Harrods bombing, so why should the families of the British victims be excluded?"

Susanne Dodd, who was only seven when her father, Inspector Stephen Dodd, was killed, wrote: "I hope... the British Government apologises to the UK victims that they have let down."

Loyalist activist Willie Fraser and Bessbrook pastor Barrie Halliday, of the group Families Acting for Innocent Relatives, are to give evidence at the hearing. Other witnesses include Aileen Quinton, whose mother Alberta died at the age of 72 in the Enniskillen bombing on Remembrance Sunday in 1987, Kenny Donaldson of the group Innocent Victims United and Jonathan Ganesh, a survivor of the 1996 IRA bombing at Canary Wharf.

Belfast Telegraph


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