IRA Libya victims campaigner recognised in Queen’s birthday honours

Wayne Gruba, of the Docklands Victims Association.
Wayne Gruba, of the Docklands Victims Association.
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A campaigner for IRA victims of Libyan explosives has been recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.

Wayne Gruba, 64, from Wales, co-founded the Docklands Victims Association (DVA) in London after the 1996 republican bombing which killed two people and injured many more.

He receives a British Empire Medal for services to victims of terrorism.

His organisation has been pressing for compensation to be paid from assets belonging to Colonel Muammar Gaddafi’s former regime which are frozen in the UK.

Mr Gruba said: “I feel completely overwhelmed by this award.

“I’m accepting this immense honour on behalf of all the victims and those other volunteers at DVA who work tirelessly to help those in need.”

Gaddafi’s supply of several shipments of semtex explosives to the Provisional IRA in the mid-1980s led to a deadly campaign of bombings across the UK.

They also included the Enniskillen Remembrance Day bombing in 1987 which killed 12, and the Harrods department store blast of 1983 which killed three police officers and three civilians.

Two shopkeepers died instantly during the Docklands blast.

Mr Gruba knew a newsagent who died because he worked in the area, it was his local stop-off shop.

“I said I will do everything I can in my way, so I made a commitment to do whatever I could and that was 23 years ago.”

DVA president Jonathan Ganesh was badly injured and has known Mr Gruba for decades.

He said: “He has volunteered his time and expertise to support victims of terrorism.

“His unceasing support has helped victims through his work at the DVA.

“We are all so pleased that Wayne has been acknowledged in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.”

He has worked voluntarily and tirelessly campaigned to ensure that all victims of terror are recognised, Mr Ganesh added.

Mr Gruba advocated for all victims of Gaddafi-sponsored terrorism within the UK and Ireland.

His colleague said: “For the past 12 years he has tirelessly worked to rectify the appalling lack of equality that saw British and Irish victims of Gaddafi/IRA sponsored terrorism abandoned by their Government, whilst US, France and German victims of Gaddafi-sponsored terrorism received substantial compensation for their horrific injuries.

“Wayne has tirelessly campaigned against this appalling lack of equality that devalued the life of UK and Irish victims as he believes all human life must be valued regardless of your nationality.”

UUP Peer Lord Empey, who is campaigning for compensation for victims of Libya-terror, said he was “delighted at the news” of the award for Mr Gruba.

“It is a recognition of the injustices suffered by victims of Gadaffi supplied semtex to the IRA as well as a personal recognition of Wayne’s tireless work on behalf of those victims.

“Wayne and his colleagues see other governments around the world fighting for those who suffered similar fates at the hands of the Gadaffi regime, where they obtained compensation for their victims while at the same time the UK Government has stood idly by and done nothing.

“The belated decision of the Foreign Secretary to appoint a personal representative to finally pursue this issue has only come about because of the determination of people like Wayne to continue the fight. I wish him well.”

In 2011 a UN sanction froze Libyan assets around the world to prevent their theft or misuse during the civil war that overthrew Gaddafi.

Cash, property and securities in the UK are now worth £12 billion.

Susanne Dodd, daughter of Metropolitan Police Inspector Stephen Dodd, who was killed in the Harrods attack, said Mr Gruba was “truly deserving”.

“He courageously spoke up for victims of Gaddafi/IRA sponsored terrorism. Wayne’s compassion and kindness for others has always touched me.”