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Tributes to shooting survivor Paddy Cassidy who campaigned for Troubles pension

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Sudden death: Paddy Cassidy

Sudden death: Paddy Cassidy

Sudden death: Paddy Cassidy

A man who survived a loyalist shooting and campaigned for a pension for Troubles' victims has died before he was able to avail of the delayed scheme.

Members of the Wave Injured Group - who have been campaigning for a special recognition payment for those severely injured through no fault of their own during the Troubles - were left "shocked and deeply saddened" by the sudden death yesterday morning of long-time member Paddy Cassidy.

Mr Cassidy, who had severe spinal injuries as a result of a random loyalist gun attack in September 1971, took ill at his home in north Belfast and died before an ambulance could take him to hospital.

Wave coordinator Alan McBride said: "There was not a day since his injury as a 21-year-old nearly 50 years ago when Paddy was free from pain.

"Despite that, his commitment to seeing recognition and acknowledgement of the great harm done to him and others like him was phenomenal."

The pension scheme, which had been due to open to applications last month, has been stalled amid a row about eligibility and a dispute between Stormont and London over funding.

Among those Mr Cassidy lobbied for the pension at Westminster in 2018 was former Northern Ireland secretary Peter Hain.

"I well remember meeting Paddy with the other members of the Wave Injured Group and was struck by his courage and tenacity," the Labour peer said.

"Not only am I saddened to learn of his sudden death, I am also very angry that political intransigence at Stormont has denied Paddy and all the others who have campaigned for recognition and acknowledgement access to the pension he had fought so hard for."

Paddy Cassidy is survived by his wife Patricia, sons Edward and Michael and daughter Patricia. His funeral service will take place on Thursday in Ardoyne.

Belfast Telegraph