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Precedent may be set by compensation

The compensation awarded to the grandmother and mother of murdered Real IRA man Kieran Doherty could set a precedent, with claims made by relatives who previously believed they weren't entitled to a payment. Under previous legislation, compensation was judged and awarded on the grounds of dependants and a calculation of loss of earnings.

As such, only the victim's immediate family, such as a wife or parents, would be entitled to submit a claim for compensation. Grandparents would generally not have qualified under the old system.

Many victims were awarded paltry payments on grounds that the person killed didn't work and so therefore their loss was not judged to have impacted the household's standard of living. however, since 1988 compensation has operated under a tariff system that critics argue presents little room for consideration of personal circumstances.

There is also a penalty clause that means anyone with previous convictions can have some or all of their awarded compensation withheld by the Northern Ireland Office.

In the largest payment of its kind the son of UDA boss John Gregg, who witnessed his father's murder, was awarded £400,000. Stewart Gregg's payout was decided by the Compensation Appeals panel.

Allison Morris

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