Troubles pension criteria amended to include siblings

Victims campaigner Ann Travers has welcomed the ‘Troubles pension’ eligibility criteria being amended to include the brothers and sisters of terror victims.

Saturday, 3rd July 2021, 8:30 am
Ann Travers. Photo: Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker
Ann Travers. Photo: Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

Ms Travers, whose sister Mary was murdered and her father Tom seriously injured during an IRA gun attack in 1984, was left traumatised by both the impact of the murder and having witnessed the immediate aftermath.

She was deeply upset to discover earlier this week that siblings had been excluded from the Troubles Permanent Disablement Payment Scheme criteria.

In a social media post on Thursday, she said: “I lost my sister to a bullet. That day I lost part of myself. Losing a sibling is so difficult. Focus is on the parent who lost their child , as is right.

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“Meanwhile the other children in the family try not to hurt their bereaved parent or show their own pain.”

The scheme has been repeatedly delayed due to political wrangling over who should pay for it, and whether those injured by their own hand should be eligible.

While Sinn Fein has consistently said that all of the seriously injured must be eligible to apply – including those maimed by their own bombs – the DUP and other unionists have argued that government money should “not be awarded to victim makers”.

It will be open to those suffering psychological trauma as well as those coping with serious physical injuries. It is due to open on August 31 this year.

On becoming aware that siblings were excluded from the list of people deemed to be “loved ones” of those murdered, Ms Travers wrote to the Department of Justice and other stakeholders to urge a change to the criteria.

On Friday, Ms Travers tweeted: “I am delighted to say that this morning I received a letter from the secretary of the payments board (TPDPS) and the definition of a loved one in section 6 of the FAQ on their website is to be updated to include ‘siblings, grandchild and grandparent.’”

In a written response to Ms Travers, the president of the Victims’ Payment Board (VPB), Mr Justice McAlinden, said the eligibility criteria was being reworded following “consideration of this issue,” and that the text was being updated on the VPB website.

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