22 July 2019
DUP MP Emma Little Pengelly has welcomed the clear statement from the UK Government that victim-makers will be excluded from receiving a pension for severely injured victims.
The South Belfast MP secured an Urgent Question in the House of Commons today on the matter.
Speaking afterwards she said, “The current legal definition which equates victim-makers with their innocent victims is a moral corruption at the heart of victims issues in Northern Ireland. It is again in the spotlight in relation to progress on the much-needed special pension for those severely injured during the Troubles.
It is an issue that causes a great deal of hurt amongst victims, demonstrated most clearly through the members of 14 separate victims organisations stating they cannot have confidence in the Victims Commissioner if she pursues the payment of a victims pension which would include perpetrators.
I am pleased that this Urgent Question was brought to the floor of the House of Commons, because it allowed the Government to give a clear reassurance to victims:
“It remains the government’s position that whilst it right and proper to provide a pension for victims of troubles related terrorist related incidents, this should not become a pension for terrorists. There is no moral equivalence between a bystander badly injured in a terrorist explosion through no fault of their own, and the people who manufactured the bomb, placed the bomb, and detonated the bomb.”
I have no doubt that those words will be warmly welcomed by victims. Indeed, there was also support on excluding perpetrators even from those who do not support a change to the definition of a victim as defined in the 2006 Order. I believe that definition does require change, but on the pension issue, it should now proceed along the lines so clearly outlined by the Minister today.
Those who suffered so grievously during the Troubles are getting older and their needs continue and grow. It is vital that we should have a victim-centred process, and a pension which is focused on those innocent victims should be a key part of that process.”