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Republic of Ireland's Troubles victims in plea for aid

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Pension call: Dubliner Edward O’Neill

Pension call: Dubliner Edward O’Neill

Pension call: Dubliner Edward O’Neill

Victims of IRA violence in the Republic of Ireland have said they must not be forgotten.

Their plea comes after regulations for a pension scheme to look after those severely injured in the Troubles were published.

Victims' campaigners pointed out that people injured in the Irish Republic, and who are Irish citizens, are not included.

Dubliner Edward O'Neill, who was seriously injured in the Dublin bombing in 1974, is angry that there is no equivalent pension for victims in the Republic.

Asked if the Dublin Government should set up a similar scheme, Mr O'Neill said: "Without a shadow of a doubt.

"I'm not looking for sympathy, but I'm looking for proper help and acknowledgement."

Mr O'Neill (50) and his brother Billy were caught up in the explosion, which also killed their father Edward. He still suffers from the injuries he sustained in the 1974 bombing. Thirty three people died and 300 were injured when UVF terrorists detonated a series of bombs in Dublin and Monaghan.

"We've been forgotten. Absolutely," he added. "Those bombings originated in Northern Ireland. That's indisputable.

"We don't mind where the money's coming from, but money from either government would be an acknowledgement of what happened to us."

David Kelly, whose father Patrick was the only member of the Irish Defence Forces to die during the Troubles, said his family should not be treated as 'invisible'. Private Patrick Kelly was part of an Irish Army and Garda patrol at Ballinamore near the Fermanagh border when he was shot dead by the IRA along with a trainee Garda, Gary Sheehan, in December 1983.

"There are people in the south of Ireland still living with the consequences of the Troubles through no fault of their own," Mr Kelly said.

"We have been bereaved, physically and psychologically damaged. Yes, the conflict was in the north, but people like me, whose father was from the south, killed in the south, but as part of the wider conflict, should be taken seriously."

He added: "On the back of this we will now look at putting pressure on both the Irish and British Governments to treat victims in the south of Ireland the same."

Belfast Telegraph