IRA victims welcome Libyan negotiations

Former Prime Minister Tony Blair
Former Prime Minister Tony Blair

Efforts by a senior government official to negotiate compensation from Libya for terror victims has been welcomed by Lord Empey.

The former Ulster Unionist leader said a trip to the African state by Sir Kim Darroch - David Cameron’s national security advisor - was an important step.

“It is vital that the British Government impress upon the Libyan authorities the devastating effects Semtex and arms supplied by the Gaddafi regime to the IRA have had on the lives of people in the United Kingdom,” Lord Empey said.

“The fight for compensation for victims has been long-running, so it is very important that these new efforts lead to results for the UK victims of IRA terrorism supported by the Gaddafi regime.”

Around 150 victims of Libyan-sponsored IRA terrorism and their families had hoped to receive compensation after bringing a court case in the US against Colonel Gaddafi and the Libyan regime. The class action collapsed in 2008 after political interference.

A resulting deal, in which former Prime Minister Tony Blair intervened on Gaddafi’s behalf, American-based victims of Libyan terrorism — including those injured by IRA bombings — received a share of £1 billion paid out by Libya. British victims were excluded and have yet to received compensation.

Details of the government official’s visit are outlined in a letter sent by Foreign Secretary William Hague to the MP Sir Richard Ottoway, Conservative chairman of the foreign affairs committee, which had been examining “legacy issues” from the Gaddafi era.

According to the Sunday Telegraph report, the initiative has been welcomed by IRA victims in Great Britain.

Jon Ganesh of the Docklands Victims Association (DVA), who was injured in the Docklands bombing in London in 1996, said: “I’m very pleased to learn that Sir Kim Darroch will be discussing these outstanding matters with the Libyan government.

“The DVA works with countless victims of terrorism and would welcome this positive engagement”.