I read with interest the letter of Tom Cooper from Dublin (All terror victims deserve redress, not just Protestant victims of republican violence, Sep 20), expressing his opinions about the UK victims of Libyan sponsored IRA terrorism.
I feel I should correct him on a number of points.
Firstly, he assumes that those victims seeking compensation are all Protestant.
A Google search would have told him that two of the victims from the Docklands bomb are messrs Bashir and Ganesh, a further Google search would have told Mr Cooper that these men are hardly Protestants. And that’s just two examples I can think of off the top of my head.
Mr Cooper goes on to make reference to the importation of weapons from South Africa, and that some of these weapons are “believed” to have been used in the Sean Graham betting shop attack.
There is a difference in belief and fact. I wouldn’t want to deny any family justice, but you don’t bring belief to a fact fight.
The semtex supplied to PIRA had properties that could enable the semtex used after each to be traced back to the factory of origin, and from there to Libya. This is just one of many facts that enabled the UK victims to take a case in the American courts.
This leads me on to his other point. If specific weapons used in specific attacks can be traced back to a country of origin, and the gun runners and intermediaries can be identified, then go instruct lawyers and take a case.
This is exactly what the UK victims of Libyan supplied semtex did. The American victims in the very same case were compensated, and the UK victims thrown to the wolves.
This is why distinguished peers such as Lord Empey became involved, to right a wrong.
It is also worth mentioning that, after the fall of Gaddafi, the new Libyan government met with the victims lawyers and signed a contract stating that they would compensate the UK victims. To date the Libyans haven’t paid so much as a penny.
And finally, if Mr Cooper feels that all victims deserve “parity of esteem”, then other victims should take the time and effort to take a civil case. It’s very easy to sit behind a computer at home and read about victims seeking compensation and cry “what about themmuns”?
The victims in this case have fought for over ten years against Libya and against a British government who are happy to pay £1.5 million to former terrorists, but will hinder and obstruct innocent victims time and time again.
So, if it’s parity of esteem that Mr Cooper craves, he might want to go and do some legwork and then fight bureaucracy and an apathetic government for ten years.
Then, and only then will he have experienced just a taste of what the UK victims have had to endure, and then he will be in a better position to pontificate about justice and parity of esteem.
Andrew Magowan, Belfast BT4