Real IRA member Kieran Doherty’s family to receive ‘substantial’ compensation

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Relatives of a dissident republican shot dead by former associates in the Real IRA - the organisation which bombed Omagh - are to receive compensation for his death.

The amount agreed by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Appeals Panel has not been disclosed, but an uncle of the victim, Kieran Doherty, 31, has confirmed it is “substantial”.

Doherty was kidnapped, stripped and then assassinated outside Derry three years ago.

He had served a jail sentence in the Irish Republic for robbery while a member of the Real IRA, but his family said they believed he wanted to move on with his life after he was released, and had been planning to marry his partner.

They also claimed his health had suffered before he was shot because of harassment by M15. The Real IRA said it killed him. Compensation is being awarded to his mother, Christine, and grandmother.

Michael Gallagher, whose son, Aidan, was among the 29 people, including a woman pregnant with twins, blown up by the Real IRA in Omagh in August 1998 said the amounts of compensation paid out to the victims of that atrocity had been scandalous.

The families of children under 18 who died in Omagh were paid £7,500, he said.

Mr Gallagher added: “If the rules of compensation have changed, then it is important that people who have lost out in the past, should benefit from that change.”

Doherty’s uncle, Vinnie Coyle, said the family were happy with the amount of compensation.

He told BBC Radio Ulster: “But what’s more important to the family is, in their opinion, Kieran’s name has been cleared because the PSNI evidence, and the evidence that the PSNI produced on behalf of MI5 and the security services, did not stand up to very, very close scrutiny.”

He said the family had suffered as well.

“They are victims and it’s my belief, and the belief of the Doherty family, that victims should be fully, openly and honestly compensated for acts carried out on family members.”

Tom Elliott, an Ulster Unionist member of the Northern Ireland Assembly, said compensation should be awarded on a fair basis. Some families of murdered security force members got a pittance, he claimed.

He added: “To hear that a very substantial amount has been paid to the family of what was a Real IRA member, then it really does sicken me to hear that difference.”