Legal aid U-turn will allow families of Hyde Park bomb victims to pursue civil action
Former Ulster Unionist MP Danny Kinahan has welcomed the news that the Hyde Park Justice Campaign has been granted legal aid to fund a case against the chief suspect in the murders of their loved ones.
Four soldiers of the Royal Household Cavalry were killed after the nail bomb exploded in London. Their families can now pursue a civil court action against Donegal man John Downey (66), whose criminal trial collapsed after it emerged that he had mistakenly received a written assurance in 2007 from Tony Blair's government that he was no longer a wanted man.
However, the families of the soldiers murdered in Hyde Park on July 20, 1982 by the Provisional IRA were subsequently denied legal aid to pursue a civil action.
Mr Downey has always denied involvement in the bombing.
After it relented, the Legal Aid Agency said: "We can confirm legal aid has been awarded to families of the victims of the 1982 Hyde Park bombing.
"We reviewed the application in accordance with the information provided and the legal aid regulations.
"Our deepest sympathies remain with those affected by this atrocity."
Mr Kinahan, a former colleague of the soldiers, said the families of the victims had been "put through hell".
"I am glad that common sense has finally taken hold and the Legal Aid Agency has reversed its previous decisions," he said.
"It was a stain on our justice system. I hope that lessons will be learned so that never again will the innocent victims and their families be abandoned by those in positions of power and authority."