There was uproar yesterday when it was revealed that the family of a Real IRA man have been awarded “substantial” compensation from the taxpayer after he was murdered by his own group.
Kieran Doherty was shot dead in Londonderry three years ago. He had previously served time in Portlaoise prison for taking part in the armed robbery of a hotel in Donegal.
His uncle, Vinnie Coyle, confirmed yesterday that his nephew’s mother and grandmother had been given a “substantial” award for “pain, loss and injury”.
The decision was made by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Appeals Panel after compensation was refused by the Department of Justice.
UUP MLA Tom Elliot, a member of the Stormont Justice Committee, said he had received unconfirmed reports that the family had been given “a six-figure sum”.
“I think this is an incredible amount,” Mr Elliot said. “I have spoken to the families of a number of terrorist victims who were only given thousands after their loved one was murdered and some who have got only hundreds.”
He added: “Kieran Doherty made his own choices in life and one of them was to join the Real IRA, a gang of cowards who murdered 29 men, women and children in Omagh, including a woman pregnant with unborn twins.”
Kenny Donaldson of the Innocent Victims United coalition said: “Hundreds of families across Northern Ireland who lost loved ones to terrorism are looking on with utter revulsion at this decision. Many of these families received a paltry few hundred pounds when the main breadwinner in their family was murdered.”
Mr Donaldson is calling for “a clear acceptance” that members of terrorist organisations who die as a result of their activities “can never be considered innocent victims”.