Belfast Telegraph

Victims of the IRA in Britain 'deserve to get pensions too'

Jonathan Ganesh
Jonathan Ganesh
Adrian Rutherford

By Adrian Rutherford

The Secretary of State has been urged to ensure victims of IRA terrorism in Britain are included in a new pension scheme.

The DUP is preparing a Bill that would see around 400 of those most seriously injured in the Troubles receive a pension.

However, as things stand, it would not include people injured in Britain, as the Assembly cannot legislate outside Northern Ireland.

Yet, under current victims' legislation, 10 former paramilitaries could qualify.

It raises the possibility of a former terrorist being eligible for a pension, but not a British victim of IRA violence.

The DUP is fighting to ensure this does not happen.

Lagan Valley MP Jeffrey Donaldson said he was completely opposed to the idea of paramilitaries receiving any money.

He is also lobbying to ensure the pension was extended to victims outside Northern Ireland.

Mr Donaldson pressed Secretary of State Theresa Villiers on the need to include victims in Britain during a meeting yesterday.

He said Ms Villiers had promised to consider the matter.

"She is going to consider it, and she and I are going to meet the Secretary of State for Justice Michael Gove to put the case for the victims of Great Britain to be included," he said.

"The Northern Ireland Assembly cannot legislate for them because under statute we are limited to Northern Ireland."

Mr Donaldson said it was clear that people convicted of terrorist violence could not be included.

"The Bill we are putting forward will exclude people convicted of terrorist offences," he added.

Among those campaigning on the issue is Jonathan Ganesh, who was injured in the IRA bombing of Canary Wharf in 1996.

Mr Ganesh met MPs, including Mr Donaldson, on Tuesday.

"It was a very constructive meeting and we have emphasised our opposition to any pension to any former paramilitary in Northern Ireland," he said.

Mr Ganesh also stressed the need for victims in Britain to be included in the scheme.

"You cannot have a pension exclusively for IRA victims in Northern Ireland while excluding people in desperate need on the mainland.

"We now need to get moving on this. We have had enough talking."

Belfast Telegraph


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