Belfast Telegraph

Man who lost father in Dublin bombing to sue NIO for failure to offer payouts

Edward O’Neill said:
Edward O’Neill said: "It's just absolutely appalling and the Northern Ireland government certainly owes us a duty of care. I have sought legal advice and plan to bring judicial proceedings against the NIO if they follow through on this proposal to exclude those from the Republic" (stock photo)
Lauren Harte

By Lauren Harte

A man whose father died in the 1974 Dublin bombing says he plans to take legal proceedings against the Northern Ireland Office (NIO) for failing to offer pensions to Troubles' victims in the Republic.

Edward O'Neill was yesterday responding to the launch of a new consultation on proposed payments of up to £9,870 for victims injured "through no fault of their own".

Mr O'Neill's father, Edward Snr, was among 33 people killed in a series of loyalist bombs in Dublin and Monaghan on May 17, 1974, the highest loss of life in a single day during the Troubles.

His son, aged five at the time, was badly injured in the blast, but survived.

He said: "It's just absolutely appalling and the Northern Ireland government certainly owes us a duty of care. I have sought legal advice and plan to bring judicial proceedings against the NIO if they follow through on this proposal to exclude those from the Republic.

"The Irish government has an equal role if these proposals are to follow through."

Mr O'Neill added: "We are not looking for any special treatment but just to be treated equally and fairly like everybody else."

Earlier this year the Government pledged not to extend the pension to those involved in orchestrating terrorist acts.

The assurance came after victims groups united to demand the resignation of Victim's Commissioner Judith Thompson.

She faced criticism in the summer when she proposed that pensions were paid in line with The Victims and Survivors (NI) Order 2006, which makes no distinction between paramilitaries and innocent victims.

At the time, Mr O'Neill said he was "disgusted at the thought of a pension across the board".

"Anybody injured as a result of their own fault in doing something like this doesn't deserve the pension, but why should people like me be excluded?" he asked.

He added: "The Troubles were an island-wide conflict - they didn't stop at the border - so why should the funding stop there? In my view this is blatantly discriminatory and extremely unfair."

Following a five-week public consultation, which will run until November 26, the first payments are due to be made by the end of next May.

A NIO spokesperson stated: "We recognise the hurt and suffering of all those injured or bereaved in the Troubles and extend our sympathies to Mr O'Neill and his family.

"The consultation is intended to seek views from all those with an interest or view, to inform the Government's decision making about the final shape of the scheme, including on matters such as where incidents took place and an individual's ordinary residence.

"We would welcome responses from anyone with a view on this, or other related matters."

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