DUP must press for proper support for terror victims: Omagh lawyers

Matthew Jury represents the interests of thousands of terror victims
Matthew Jury represents the interests of thousands of terror victims

Lawyers who spearheaded the Omagh bomb civil action have urged the DUP to press the next government for full and proper support for terror victims.

Matthew Jury, managing partner of London-based firm McCue & Partners, was speaking as the Conservative Party continues talks about a deal with the DUP which would allow it to form the next government.

Matthew Jury represents the interests of thousands of terror victims

Matthew Jury represents the interests of thousands of terror victims

Mr Jury currently represents the interests of thousands of terror victims in the UK. One of his aims is to secure compensation from Libya for the thousands of victims it created by arming and financing the IRA during the Troubles.

He and his legal partner Jason McCue previously won a judgement for £1.6m in damages against four men for the Real IRA Omagh bomb, which killed 29 people 1998.

Mr Jury said: “We are calling on the DUP to use its influence to ensure better treatment of victims by the state – not just victims of the Troubles, but all UK victims of terrorism – including the provision of adequate support services across the UK.

“We are also calling for the DUP to press for effective access to justice for all victims of the Troubles, including legal aid, so they may hold terrorists to account where the state is unable or has failed to do so.”

This is in line, he said, with the Conservative manifesto pledge to address the “imbalance” in prosecutions and legal actions against veterans who served in Northern Ireland, which he described as “shameful treatment”.

Mr Jury said the DUP should also press for the same level of compensation for British victims of Libyan terrorism as America achieved for its victims of the rogue state.

During the Troubles Libya, led by Col Muamar Gaddaffii, transformed the IRA into a heavily armed terror group with millions of pounds in finance and 120 tonnes of weaponry, including semtex.

Mr Jury noted that British victims of the resulting terrorism were denied compensation from Libya which they should have won through a US legal action for American victims in 2008. However, British citizens were excluded due to major failures by the UK government.

The DUP should therefore ensure that every single UK victim of Libya-IRA terrorism is now fairly compensated, Mr Jury said.

In order to achieve this, he said, the DUP should press the new government to urgently implement the recommendations of Parliament’s Northern Ireland Affairs Committee.

In April the committee found successive UK governments had failed to help Libya-IRA victims secure compensation.

The MPs recommended that the government should now ensure that Libya compensates victims in full – or the UK should use £10bn of Libyan assets frozen in Britain to do so.

A final option was that the government should itself pay victims and then seek to recover the finances from Libya.