Following Tuesday night’s BBC Spotlight programme, which examined the issue of a pension for the seriously injured, victims umbrella organisation Innocent Victims United wishes to reiterate its position that terrorists must not benefit from a pension scheme alongside the innocent victims and survivors of violent, terrorist acts.
The programme was a timely reminder of the sheer depravity of terrorism, the mutilated bodies and minds that were left through the perpetration of evil within this society.
We accept that those who planted bombs causing injury to themselves, or who were shot whilst involved in a terrorist act and consequently injured, may well have health and welfare needs which cannot and will not be ignored by the state.
But we are clear that this does not and must not mean such individuals receiving a special pension alongside the innocents that they and their ‘comrades’ created.
Victims of clerical abuse receive compensation, not those who inflicted the abuse.
Why is the understood principle used in respect of other crimes not automatically being applied where terrorism and injury is concerned?
Ghandi once said that “the true measure of any society can be found in how it treats its most vulnerable members”.
The very fact that innocent victims of terrorism are being asked would they be willing to accept a special pension (which they desperately need) if perpetrators and terrorists were also to be included is an illustration of how warped this society has become.
There are said to be ten terrorists – four republican and six loyalist – who would stand to potentially benefit from a special pension.
The proscribed organisations to which they swore allegiance could belatedly go some way to showing respect to the victims and survivors they created were they to step up and declare that they will assume responsibility for the financial needs of their injured ‘comrades and soldiers’.
Unlike those innocent victims and survivors of terrorism, who were motivated to work to contribute to society and in-so-doing accumulate work-based pensions through their employment as civil servants, bank officials, bus drivers etc, the job title members of a proscribed terrorist organisation held was one of causing death and destruction within this society for the purpose of advancing their so-called political objectives.
When the Private Member’s Bill on a pension for the seriously injured is brought before the Northern Ireland Assembly, political parties and individual politicians will either prove that they genuinely care about victims and survivors, or if their core motivation is about advancing a narrow, revisionist political agenda which is about decriminalising terrorism and its enduring effects.
Innocent Victims United