Cash call for victims of terrorism in Republic
Victims of IRA and loyalist violence in the Republic have been denied a £3,000-a-year carers' allowance, while ex-terrorists have been getting fat on Irish government slush funds.
People in the Republic who are caring for those who were injured or suffered the trauma of having a loved one murdered are being deprived of a support grant available in Northern Ireland since 2009.
Some 118 people were murdered by terrorist groups in the Republic during the Troubles, about half killed by the IRA and half in loyalist bomb attacks. Dozens were badly injured in the loyalist bomb attacks and have needed care throughout their lives.
Many of the victims are getting old and the scheme in Northern Ireland, the Victims and Survivors Service, provides just over £3,000 a year to assist carers for the ageing - and largely forgotten - victims of terrorism.
The grant in Northern Ireland was finally won after years of campaigning by support groups formed among the victims' families in the UK and Republic. Innocent Victims United (IVU), an umbrella group of more than 20,000 victims mostly in Northern Ireland but also in Britain and the Republic, has now called on the Irish government to extend the carers' grant to the Republic.
While the scheme was introduced in Northern Ireland, no parallel arrangements were put in place for the survivors and their carers in the Republic.
It is understood that despite appeals from IVU, the issue of the carers' assistance in the Republic ended up being passed from one department to another and never came into being.
Victims organiser Kenny Donaldson said: "IVU has campaigned for governments to collectively work together around the provision of services for victims/survivors of the Troubles. The Stormont, UK and RoI governments need to come together and cough up the resources needed, as well as put in place the necessary political and practical frameworks to enable it to happen.
"We have met with and lobbied many senior politicians from across the political spectrum and this work will intensify along with other campaigning strategies.
"We stand shoulder to shoulder with GB and RoI-based victims and survivors of terrorism and other Troubles-related violence - they must be given a standing and acknowledgement that has not been forthcoming to date."
Victims in the Republic include those killed in the 1970s in the loyalist bomb attacks in Dublin, Belturbet in Co Cavan, Monaghan and Dundalk. The IRA murdered people throughout the Republic, including Protestant Fine Gael Senator Billy Fox, shot in Co Monaghan in March 1974.