Northern Ireland news

Victims' campaigner Andree Murphy says Troubles legacy compensation 'disparity' should be addressed

Gerry McKinney's daughters with solicitor Ciaran Shiels on the way out of the High Court in Belfast this week. Picture by Hugh Russell.

A victims' campaigner has said the "disparity" in levels of compensation paid to victims and survivors of the Troubles should be addressed.

Andree Murphy of campaign group Relatives for Justice was commenting on TUV leader Jim Allister's letter to Prime Minister Theresa May in relation to compensation recently awarded to Bloody Sunday victims.

Ms Murphy said that while Mr Allister "raises an important issue" that "in no way undermines the entire legitimacy of the payments to Bloody Sunday victims".

Adding that it also "in no way endorses his partial approach to this sensitive and complex issue".

However said; "Disparity in compensation paid to victims and survivors should be addressed by a comprehensive system of reparations".

Mr Allister said this week that he had written to the Prime Minster following compensation paid to by the MoD to widow of a man shot dead by a soldier on Bloody Sunday.

Ita McKinney (80) received £625,000 in damages from the High Court, over her husband Gerry's murder in Derry in January 1972.

A 35-year-old a father-of-eight, he was among 13 people shot dead when British Army paratroopers opened fire on civil rights demonstrators. A further victim wounded on the day died later of his injuries.

In a separate settlement, the brother of single man Michael McDaid (20) is to receive £75,000 in damages for his death on Bloody Sunday.

Last week £193,000 in compensation was paid to Michael Quinn, who was shot in the face by one of the soldiers on Bloody Sunday.

Mr Allister said he had informed Theresa May that the settlement had "stirred understandable questions" among families of RUC members and others murdered around the same time.

"Among those in touch with me is a police widow whose husband was murdered in 1975, leaving her with a six-year-old and a four-year-old and another child on the way.

"She got £1,000 in criminal injury compensation plus a police pension – which she lost on remarriage - till I secured a change in the law a few years ago restoring such pensions.

"When her treatment is compared with an award of £625,000 this week to a Bloody Sunday widow, then, the disparity is as obvious as it is shocking."

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