Injured Group Denounces Government Legacy Position
1st March 2018
The Injured Group have been informed by the Northern Ireland Office that, while the Injured Pension is in the Stormont House Agreement, as far as the Secretary of State is concerned it will not beincluded in the proposed public consultation on dealing with the legacy of the past.
TheInjured Group calls on all political parties and civic society to urge theGovernment to change its position before the public consultation is launched.
Paul Gallagher who has been confined to a wheelchair since he was shot by loyalistgunmen in 1994 when he was 21 said:
“The Secretary of State told Parliament, only a week ago, that the Government hasresponsibilities to ‘…provide better outcomes for victims and survivors, thepeople who suffered most during the Troubles’.
Now we are being told, in effect, that people like Jennifer who had both legs tornoff by the IRA in the Abercorn bomb in 1972 when she was 21 is not someone who‘…suffered most during the Troubles’.
Peter has been in a wheelchair since 1979, when he was 26, after he wasshot by loyalists when they were looking for someone else and whose fatherdropped dead from a heart attack when Peter was being carried to the ambulance,does not seem to be someone who has ‘…suffered most during the Troubles’ as faras the Secretary of State is concerned.
Margaret, who was stone blind in an instant when an IRA bomb blew the windowsof her office into her face and body, in 1982, and who still has glass working its way to the surface, 36 years later, is not someone who has ‘… suffered mostduring the Troubles’, according to the NIO.
Instead the Government treats the plight of the severely injured like some kind ofsocial security anomaly.
Does the Secretary of State and her advisers not understand how deeply insulting and grossly offensive that is?”
The Injured Group has been campaigning for over seven years to get legislation through the Assembly but while all local parties support the idea of a pensionfor people like those in the Injured Group, the fact remains that they havebeen unable to come to an agreement on who would qualify. They have kicked this particular political football into touch and refuse to deal with it.
Paul Gallagher continued:
“The NIO claims that the pension is a devolved matter.
Anddevolved to what?
Even if the political will was there and the local parties could agree to find a wayto take this through, the tragic farce of the last few weeks and months has putus into a legislative limbo.
The fact is that we are as much a part of the legacy of Northern Ireland’s violentpast as anything else and addressing that is ultimately a British Government responsibility.
They should legislate for this.
Not only are the severely injured among those who have ‘… suffered most’, we still suffer and will continue to suffer every day until we die.
It is shameful and morally indefensible that the Government turns its back on us”.
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