17/07/2019

Govt Urged To Implement Pensions For Victims

The UK Government has been urged to implement a pension scheme for those who were severely and permanently injured as a result of The Troubles.

Publishing advice to Government, the Victims Commissioner said the payments should be introduced "as quickly as possible", and suggested a tiering system based on the severity of injuries.

Survivors and campaigners have been pressing for the compensation for years, and the Commissioner also called for payments to be backdated to the December 2014 Stormont House Agreement.

Sinn Féin MLA Linda Dillon said there is a legal and financial responsibility on Westminster to implement the pension, and welcomed the advice published today, Wednesday 17 June.

"This is required so that those injured as a result of the conflict can live their lives in a dignified manner and to help ease the financial burden on them and their families," the mid-Ulster MLA said.

"It is Sinn Féin's view that the provision of a pension for all seriously physically and psychologically injured should be provided immediately.
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"The Stormont House Agreement endorsed by the parties and both governments clearly sets out an agreed framework to deliver truth and justice for all victims and survivors.

"The British government should stop stalling the implementation of that agreement and also uphold its legal and financial responsibility to implement a pension for the most severely and permanently injured as a result of the conflict."

Meanwhile, UUP Justice spokesperson Doug Beattie has expressed concern at a "serious issue" within the advice- that those injured "by their own hand while conducting terrorist atrocities" will be grouped alongside the victims of their actions.

The Upper Bann MLA said the Victims and Survivors Pension Arrangement (VASPA) should apply the eligibility rules outlined in the UK Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme where it states: "We can compensate blameless victims of violent crime, or people whose loved ones have died as a result of a violent crime."

"The key word being blameless," Mr Beattie explained.

"We do not oppose providing medical and other help for those who are damaged by their actions - and recognise how their families also suffer and have needs - but we cannot condone financially rewarding those who inflicted such pain on others."



(JG/CM)

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