Legacy Scandal: '˜I have never recovered from the loss of my poor Dad in the IRA Harrods bomb'
In the latest in our series on the legacy imbalance, a woman who lost her father in the Harrods bomb, SUSANNA DODD, says bereaved victims in Great Britain will not be able to access HIU as their loved one was killed outside Northern Ireland (see beneath the article for links to other articles in the series):
We are very saddened with the Northern Ireland’s legacy proposals.
The proposals have been endorsed by Victims and Survivors Services (VSS) and The Commission for Victims and Survivors (CVS) based in Northern Ireland.
My dad (Inspector Stephen Dodd of the Metropolitan Police), along with Sgt Noel Lane and WPC Jane Arbuthnot, paid the ultimate price to save the lives of countless innocent people as a consequence of the IRA’s devastating attack on Harrods department store on the 17th December 1983.
Dad, despite knowing he was in tremendous danger, continued to direct people away from the deadly car bomb.
He also evacuated children to safety who had been visiting Father Christmas within the store.
This car bomb had been packed with shrapnel such as nails, screws and bolts etc to cause unimaginable loss of life.
As a consequence of this IRA terrorist attack my dad sustained horrific injuries as he had been adjacent to the car bomb.
Dad subsequently died on Christmas Eve.
I was seven years old and I can still remember it being Christmas and praying to Father Christmas to bring my dad home.
I have never recovered from the loss of my poor dad and I still think of him every day.
The Northern Ireland legacy proposal, which appears to be supported by Victims Commissioner Judith Thompson of the CVS and the VSS, appears to be very disingenuous as they refuse to address the real concerns of all the victims of this appalling terrorist conflict such as:
1. We do not accept the present position that innocent victims are equated with former terrorists who received funding support from the VSS.
My brave dad and his colleagues saved the lives of countless people and terrorists take the lives the innocent people.
It is immoral to compare the two.
2. This legacy consultation has refused to address the compelling issues within these proposals.
It is undoubtedly an appalling lack of equality as US victims of IRA semtex received substantial compensation from Colonel Gaddafi for the supply of the terror weapons whilst UK and Irish victims receive nothing.
The victims’ campaign has not been supported by CVS, VSS and other governmental institutions, as they feel that this is a private matter.
It has also emerged that French and German victims of Gaddafi sponsored terrorism also received substantial compensation.
This we feel illustrates an appalling lack of concern for the real issues and is represents a grave hypocrisy.
3. Proposed victims’ pensions, which has been mentioned by the Commissioner Judith Thompson and stated within the legacy consultation documents, would only be available to those physically injured in Northern Ireland.
We find this immoral as this consultation is apparently willing to abandon other innocent victims in the Republic of Ireland and mainland GB.
We understand that these proposed victims’ pensions, which may also be accessed by perpetrators injured during their own terrorist activities, would not be available to those with severe mental health conditions caused due to this terrorist conflict.
4. The proposed Historical Investigation Unit (HIU) is fundamentally flawed as I and other bereaved victims within Great Britain would not be able to access this facility as their loved one was killed outside Northern Ireland by the IRA.
We find this intended policy is disgraceful.
Due to the recent comments of Commissioner Judith Thompson of CVS it would appear she is concerned with the lack of support for the legacy proposal.
However, I am sorry to express that many of these intended proposals are insulting to a vast many victims as the CVS appears to be promoting its own agenda without concern for all the victims.
For over 35 years my family and I have waited for closure and accountability, and have been frequently let down.
However, we refused to accept these token gestures of support.
I will not let this legacy proposal dishonour my brave dad who gave up his life so other innocent people could live.
• This was written by Ms Susanna Dodd for and on behalf of Harrods Victims Association (HVA). Six people were murdered in the IRA bomb outside the famous Harrods department store in London in December 1983, one week before Christmas. Three of the dead were police officers, including Susanna’s father Stephen, and three were civilians
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