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IRA victims call for Northern Ireland politicians to support Gaddafi compensation bill

(Left to right) Jonathan Ganesh, Joe Holbeach and Wayne Gruba meet the Docklands Victims Association
(Left to right) Jonathan Ganesh, Joe Holbeach and Wayne Gruba meet the Docklands Victims Association

Victims of IRA terrorism in Great Britain and Northern Ireland have called for the UK Government to support a bill which aims to secure compensation from assets linked to dead Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

The private members bill - introduced by Lord Reg Empey, Andrew Rosindell MP and Jim Fitzpatrick MP- seeks to secure a percentage of Gaddafi's assets which are frozen in the UK and are estimated to be worth £12 billion.

Gaddafi’s government provided the IRA with weaponry and financial assistance during the Troubles.

The Asset Freezing Bill will receive its 2nd Reading in the House of Commons on June 15, 2018.

IRA victims injured in the UK who held US passports have already received substantial compensation from Gaffafi, as have victims from France and Germany.

Victims from Northern Ireland injured during the IRA’s campaign of terrorism have now visited the Docklands Victims Association to discuss the bill.

The London Docklands IRA attack on February 9, 1996, killed two people and injured more than 100.

Jonathan Ganesh, president of the DVA, was severely injured in the attack.

“We are very happy today to welcome victims from Northern Ireland to our DVA centre,” he said.

“We have tremendous sympathy with all those in Northern Ireland, who suffered due to this appalling terrorist conflict. Jonathan Ganesh, DVA president

"I feel that resolving this outstanding injustice will bring closure to victims of this conflict and bring hope to all humanity. How can it be right victims of other countries can be acknowledged for their suffering whilst UK and Irish victims are worthless.”

Joe Holbeach was severely injured in Enniskillen when the IRA attacked a Remembrance Day service on November 8, 1987.

He said: “I hope all Stormont will get behind the victims and families’ bill especially those in the DUP. I struggle ever day with what happened. It is not fair how all the victims and the families have been treated.”

Susanne Dodds' father, who was an inspector in the Metropolitan Police, was killed in the Harrods IRA attack on December 17, 1983.

She said: “[I am] very pleased with all the MPs from all political parties who have courageously supported us.

"This has touched my heart as I know all those left disabled will be grateful, as would my poor brave dad would have been.

"I now call upon the DUP in Northern Ireland, who are working with the government in coalition, they must do all they can to ensure that our bill goes through and is not blocked by the Government again.”

Isan Bashir, whose brother Inam was killed in the Docklands attack, said: “If the UK government refused to support this bill their acts will confirm they do not truly care about victims of terror.

"But I shall never fail to remember all those brave parliamentarians in the Houses of Lords and Commons who made a stand for all those who were too ill to fight for themselves. May Allah bless them as they care for those in need and fight injustice.” 

East Belfast MP Gavin Robinson said: “It is vital that this issue continues to be raised and the government recognise that it will not go away. There is a glaring inequality that needs to be addressed.

"Despite the limitations of the Private Members Bill process, this will at least allow the issue to be aired once again in the House of Commons. The report from the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee published last May, on which I and DUP colleagues sat, was clear about the need for a fresh approach from government.

"It is time that victims in the UK were adequately compensated in the same way the US government pursued compensation for their citizens.”

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