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Payment scheme for Troubles bereaved reopened

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South East Fermanagh Foundation’s Kenny Donaldson

South East Fermanagh Foundation’s Kenny Donaldson

South East Fermanagh Foundation’s Kenny Donaldson

The reopening of a payment fund for those bereaved in Northern Ireland's troubled past has been warmly welcomed.

The Bereaved Self-Directed Assistance Payments scheme provides an annual payment to a spouse or partner, parent or child of someone who was killed, in recognition of their loss.

There had been disappointment when it closed to new applications in 2017.

Many who had not heard of the fund, from across the UK and Ireland as well as Northern Ireland, felt they had been forgotten about. These included scores of widows who had been left to raise families by themselves after their husbands were killed.

The South East Fermanagh Foundation (SEFF) had campaigned for the reopening of the fund. Among those who spoke out were Judith Jenkins-Young, from South Wales, whose husband, Lance Corporal Jeffrey Young, was among the four soldiers killed in the Hyde Park bombing in 1982.

She said it is an issue that "needs to be put right".

Bernie Morrissey, from Drogheda, Co Louth, the widow of Garda Sergeant Patrick Morrissey who was shot dead by the INLA during a robbery in 1985, echoed her call.

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"Nothing ever changes the past but making sure that people like my husband are never forgotten, that's very important to me," she said.

Lorna McCollum, from Cookstown, Co Tyrone, who lost two of her sons as well as her mother-in-law in the Troubles, also backed the campaign.

"The recognition payments are more about the recognition from government of the wrongs that were done to us," she said.

SEFF's director of services, Kenny Donaldson, welcomed the move but said the package of support needs to be more sustainable.

"We have listened intently to the voices of innocents bereaved as a result of terrorism and who had missed applying to the scheme prior to the previous March 2017 deadline," he said.

"Many felt aggrieved by this, that somehow their loss was not able to be formally acknowledged by the structures of the state.

"The reintroduction of this scheme goes some way to dealing with this deficit."

The scheme will be open to bereaved individuals who were not registered with the Victims and Survivors Service (VSS) by March 31 2017 and, therefore, are not already in receipt of the payment.

Belfast Telegraph


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