A terrorist conviction should disqualify someone from being eligible for compensation, the DUP’s Arlene Foster has said.
The party has requested a meeting with Justice Minister David Ford in a bid to ensure he is fully aware of the views of the community on the definition of a victim, they said.
Earlier this week it emerged the family of Real IRA member Kieran Doherty received a compensation payment following his murder in 2010.
The 31-year-old was shot dead by members of his own paramilitary gang.
Incidents like this show how the Department of Justice has “blurred the line between victim and terrorist”, MEP Diane Dodds said.
“There is no equivalence between a terrorist and an innocent victim,” she said. “ The DUP opposes this (award to the Doherty family), especially in circumstances where innocent victims are struggling to gain access to funding.
The European representative said she has met with many victims who have lost family members through terrorism and now struggle to afford the cost of daily life.
Ms Dodds’ colleague Arlene Foster said the status quo whereby a criminal conviction will reduce, but not dismiss, a person’s compensation award cannot stand.
“Whilst David Ford is unable to discuss the particulars of this case, it is important that he is fully aware of the views of the community and that he takes steps to ensure that dangerous precedents are not set. We will be pressing the Minister about what action he is taking to ensure that perpetrators of terrorist acts do not qualify for compensation. There should be no equivalence between the terrorist and their victim.
“The rationale is very simple in that someone with criminal convictions will have already cost society prior to their death or injury through their behaviour as well as their court and prison costs. Rather than a terrorist conviction reducing their payment it should disqualify them.
“This debate must never descend to an argument about how much a life is worth, this is not a discussion about who receives the most money. No price can be put on the loss incurred in too many families. This is a debate about why a man who was a terrorist qualifies for compensation from a scheme put in place for victims whilst many innocent victims of crime and terrorism are struggling to get adequate help and assistance.”