It was revealed this week that since 2016 the government has taken £17m in tax from £12bn of Libyan assets linked to Col Gaddafi which are frozen in the UK.
But IRA victims and their supporters expressed deep anger at the revelation, as government has persistently opposed them trying to tap the assets for compensation.
Col Gaddafi supplied massive shipments of weapons, including Semtex, to the IRA in the 1980s, facilitating a deadly campaign of bombings across the UK.
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Speaking in the House of Commons on Wednesday, DUP MP Nigel Dodds pressed the prime minister to use the taxes for a victims’ reparation fund.
Libya has already paid compensation to French, German and US victims of terror attacks it sponsored, he noted.
Speaking afterwards the North Belfast MP said: “There are £12 billion of frozen Libyan assets held in the United Kingdom and £17 million in tax has been recovered from this in three years.
“The prime minister and the government should ensure that money is used to help the victims and that the special representative [on victims’ compensation] will work closely with victims to obtain the justice they deserve.”
Speaking in response to Mr Dodds, Theresa May said the issue of compensation “is one that I have raised myself with the Libya government in the past”.
She added: “I will certainly ensure that the special representative is able to make every effort to ensure that the victims get that to which they are entitled and that he does work with the victims in doing that.
“It is important that their voice is an absolutely crucial part of this.”
But Jonathan Ganesh, who still suffers from serious injuries he sustained in the IRA’s 1996 Canary Wharf bomb, said the nine other DUP MPs – who effectively prop up the Tory government – must now take the same stand.
“Words or rhetoric from the prime minister are great but we need to see action on the front line, we need to resolve this,” he said. “The DUP can put pressure on government because they are in government with the Tories.
“Congratulations to Nigel Dodds – one of my heroes – for raising this matter with the prime minister. Now I would like to see the rest of the DUP MPs make a similar principled stand.”