A government minister has told DUP MPs that a new pension for injured Troubles victims will not be available to terrorists.
In response to an urgent Commons question from Emma Little Pengelly on Monday afternoon, minister John Penrose said there would be “no moral equivalence” between victims and victim-makers, and that the government would ensure former terrorists would not benefit financially from the legislation.
The MP for South Belfast said she welcomed the clarification.
“The current legal definition which equates victim-makers with their innocent victims is a moral corruption at the heart of victims issues in Northern Ireland,” she said.
“It is again in the spotlight in relation to progress on the much-needed special pension for those severely injured during the Troubles.
“It is an issue that causes a great deal of hurt amongst victims, demonstrated most clearly through the members of 14 separate victims organisations stating they cannot have confidence in the victims commissioner if she pursues the payment of a victims pension which would include perpetrators.”
Speaking in the Commons chamber, Ms Little Pengelly’s colleagues Nigel Dodds and Gavin Robinson also welcomed the government minister’s clarification.
Afterwards, Ms Little Pengelly said: “There is no moral equivalence between a bystander badly injured in a terrorist explosion through no fault of their own, and the people who manufactured the bomb, placed the bomb, and detonated the bomb.”
She said the definition of a victim “requires change,” and that the pension must be progressed.
“Those who suffered so grievously during the Troubles are getting older and their needs continue and grow. It is vital that we should have a victim-centred process, and a pension which is focused on those innocent victims should be a key part of that process,” Ms Little Pengelly added.