Compensation scheme for victims opens

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A long-delayed compensation scheme is set to bring official recognition for many of those who suffered permanent disablement in the conflict. After years of political and legal disputes, the scheme opened for applications this week.

The ‘Troubles Permanent Disablement Payment Scheme’ is open to all those who suffered severe and permanent physical or psychological injury during the conflict.

Eligible recipients will be in line for four-figure annual payments, with seven years paid retrospectively. It opened to applications on Tuesday.

Sinn Féin wanted money paid to all those seriously injured, but after years of dispute over an official ‘hierarchy of victims’, it was accepted that those who suffered an injury at their own hand will generally not qualify.

Paul Gallagher, who was paralysed after being shot by loyalists in 1994, said the opening of the scheme represented a great day.

“Today’s delivery day, today’s recognition day,” he said.

“Today is the end of a long, long journey for many injured victims, not just in this group, but across Northern Ireland and across the UK, people who were injured in some way shape or form by what happened in our past.”

Sinn Féin Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill said: “Today is a significant moment for those who have suffered permanent disablement as a result of the conflict.

“This has been a difficult and painful road for victims and survivors; I am pleased that the opening of the scheme will allow for the recognition and acknowledgement of that suffering, and provide the financial support they need to help them move forward with their lives.

“I hope that the opening of the scheme will have a positive impact for all who have suffered permanent disablement. I would encourage anyone who has suffered permanent physical or psychological disablement as a result of the conflict to make an application.”

The scheme is being administered by the Six County Department of Justice’s Victims’ Payments Board. Further details can be found on the Victims’ Payments Board website - www.victimspaymentsboard.org.uk

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