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Troubles victims could be in line for pension pots, leaders confirm


Arlene Foster

Arlene Foster

Arlene Foster

A special pension for people who were seriously injured in the Troubles is under consideration, Arlene Foster and Martin McGuinness have said.

Compensation payments awarded in the 1970s and 1980s have been criticised as "derisory", and there are many victims who are facing increasing financial difficulties as they enter pension age, such as UDR widows who lost their husbands' pensions after remarrying.

The First and Deputy First Ministers said they were considering a pension proposal that was suggested several years ago by former Victims' Commissioner Catherine Stone. In an Assembly answer, they also insisted that they remained fully committed to resolving the outstanding issues on dealing with the legacy of the Troubles.

The pension issue was left out of last autumn's Fresh Start deal between the DUP and Sinn Fein - although a wider agreement a year earlier had pledged to attempt to find a way forward on the problem, which was also mentioned a year earlier still in a report by American diplomat Richard Haass.

The DUP leader and senior Sinn Fein figure later told MLAs they were confident of a resolution to legacy issues by the time of the Assembly summer recess - but that deadline also passed.

Now they have told Ulster Unionist MLA Sandra Overend that the Stormont House Agreement indicated that "further work will be undertaken to seek an acceptable way forward on the proposal for a pension for severely physically injured victims in Northern Ireland".

"The Fresh Start Agreement reaffirms the Executive's, the UK Government's and the Irish government's commitment to full and fair implementation of the Stormont House Agreement provisions on the past," the First Minister and Deputy First Minister added.

"We remain fully committed to seeking a resolution on the outstanding legacy issues as quickly as possible.

"This includes the proposal for a pension for severely physically injured victims in Northern Ireland."

Belfast Telegraph