A Fermanagh man who suffers severe injuries from a Libya-IRA bomb felt “numb, hurt and let down” by the government’s refusal to follow MPs’ recommendations and fight for compensation for him from the African state.
Stephen Gault, who was caught up in the IRA Poppy Day Bombing in 1987 which killed his father, was speaking after the government rejected a recommendation by the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee (NIAC) to press Libya for the same level of compensation it has already paid American, French and German victims of Libyan-sponsored terrorism.
The IRA used Libyan-supplied Semtex in the Enniskillen bomb atrocity.
Libya has detailed of millions of pounds and 120 tonnes of weaponry it provided the IRA, and some £9.5bn of Libyan assets are currently frozen in the UK.
In May the NIAC recommended that the government set up a compensation fund for IRA victims, if it is clear by the end of 2017 that successful negotiations with Libya are unlikely. Libya was then to recompense the UK government, at a later date.
However the government last week refused to comply, saying that it considers the compensation claim to be a private matter between victims and Libya.
Mr Gault told the News Letter: “On hearing the news I felt numb, hurt and let down! Once again the government has turned their back on the innocent victims.”
He accused the government of “failing to seek justice” for terror victims during the Troubles - and subsequently - through the on-the-run letter scheme, royal pardons and early releases from jail.
“I’ve had to live with my injuries for nearly 30 years, during which I’ve had to have numerous surgeries.”
The compensation is badly needed by many victims, some of whom have had to sell their homes to pay for daily care, he said. Victims “never suggested that their compensation should be paid out of taxpayers money,” he added.
“The government is in control of £9.5bn of frozen Libyan assets. The NIAC said the government should pay victims compensation and then seek reimbursement from the frozen assets.”