Lisnaskea-based victims group South East Fermanagh Foundation (which recently opened a Great Britain outreach office in London) were among a delegation of groups and individual victims/survivors to meet with Alistair Burt (Minister for the Middle East and North Africa) to discuss the ongoing campaign to secure compensation for the victims of Gaddafi-sponsored PIRA terrorism and wider justice and accountability issues.
The key issue which arose from the exchanges held was the minister’s recognition that the UK government’s position was not as a consequence of the law but rather was policy-based.
This statement confirms the belief held by many that the UK government’s refusal to act proactively was and is as a consequence of its own selfish interests which are not rooted in law.
The minister, whilst stating a belief that the compensation issue was still live, nevertheless gave no assurance of a likely resolution in the short to medium term.
The UK government, across subsequent administrations, has continually made its excuses around why it couldn’t take affirmative action but the government stands charged and convicted of doing little if anything tangible for the victims and survivors of terrorism (particularly in the context of GB-based victims/survivors impacted by the Troubles).
We challenged Mr Burt on this but no response was forthcoming.
The reality is that victims have once against been treated as the collateral damage through the actions and inaction of the government.
Strategic economic and political interests have been deemed to be of a higher level of priority than the legitimate grievances and claims of those who have suffered such grievous wrongs at the hands of Gaddafi-sponsored PIRA terrorism.
That is a dangerous message being sent out by the UK government to its own citizens.
The UK government must belatedly re-examine its position on these issues, there must be an end to the smoke and mirrors approach which has delivered no progress, the UK government must instead take definitive action standing up for and by the legitimate rights of the innocent.
Kenny Donaldson, Director of Services, South East Fermanagh Foundation, Lisnaskea