BACK CAMPAIGN FOR PENSION FOR SEVERELY INJURED: WAVE Trauma Centre

22nd November 2016

BACK CAMPAIGN FOR PENSION FOR SEVERELY INJURED: 

WAVE Trauma Centre

The Injured Group at the WAVE Trauma Centre have written to MLAs, MPs, Church leaders and other opinion formers urging them to back their campaign for a special pension for those so severely injured through no fault of their own during the Troubles that they were unable to build up occupational pensions and now face moving into old age having to live on benefits.

In the letter the experiences of four of the Injured Group are highlighted.

  • Jennifer who was 21 in 1972 when a no warning IRA bomb tore her legs off.
  • Peter was shot by a loyalist gang in a case of mistaken identity in 1979 when he was 26 years old. His father arrived at the scene and thought that Peter was dead. He had a heart attack and died as Peter was carried to the ambulance. Peter is paralysed.
  • Margaret was a 38 year old mother of four young children in 1982 when an IRA bomb blew the windows of her office into her and she was blinded. Over 30 years fragments of glass still work their way to the surface and break her skin. 

  • Paul was 21 in 1994 when loyalists took over his house to lie in wait for a neighbour who didn’t turn up and so they shot him instead. He is also paralysed.         

Sandra Peake the CEO of WAVE said:

“It is estimated that there are around 500 people with these types of permanent life changing injuries.

The levels of compensation paid through the adversial Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme were wholly inadequate and there was no disability discrimination legislation to protect them.

Frankly these people were not expected to live beyond a few years.
But they have and the passage of time has compounded their problems as many suffer increasing physical distress, as a result of deteriorating health and chronic pain.

Most of them are moving into old age without the financial security that they otherwise would have had”.

Alan McBride of WAVE is the Injured Group co-ordinator.

He said:

“We have had numerous meetings with all the local political parties from 2011 to the present.  

They are all on record as saying they support the idea of a pension for severely injured.

But saying they support it is about as far as it has gone.

Unfortunately the Injured Group have hit a brick wall with regard to the two Executive parties, the DUP and Sinn Fein, who are unable to agree about who is eligible for a pension.

Every one of the Injured Group at WAVE and the vast, vast majority of the other severely injured have suffered horrendously through no fault of their own”.

He continued:

“It has been particularly hard to watch as groups led by those with links to paramilitary organisations will be funded to the tune of millions of pounds from the Social Investment Fund, and that a further £50 million is being set aside to pave the way for the transition from mafia style gangsterism to becoming ordinary citizens.

The WAVE Injured Group recognise that the paramilitaries who so grievously damaged them have to leave the stage and do not begrudge money being used to help Northern Ireland transition.
But they wonder how this money could be found so quickly when they have been campaigning for years with nothing to show for it beyond tea and sympathy.

If the devolved institutions are, for whatever reason, unable to deliver on this then the Government at Westminster should step in because the plight of the severely injured is as much a legacy of Northern Ireland’s past as anything else and it must be addressed because it would be shameful if they were to be left behind”.