‘Every mother’s tear weighs the same’

Real IRA murder victim and subject of a DUP led debate in the NI Assembly today, Kieran Doherty.
Real IRA murder victim and subject of a DUP led debate in the NI Assembly today, Kieran Doherty.

The uncle of a Real IRA murder victim has reacted to DUP attempts to stop compensation payments to his family by stating: “every mother’s tear weighs the same.”

Mr. Doherty was said to belong to the organisation which took his life in 2010. His uncle, Vincent Coyle, was in the public gallery for today’s debate.

Foyle MLA, Pat Ramsey, SDLP stressed the need to be sensitive to all those who have lost loved ones, adding politicians should not interfere in compensation awards.

Mr Ramsey said: “today’s motion calls into question the compensation currently in place for victim’s families. The motion focuses in particular on the case of Kieran Doherty who was brutally murdered by the Real IRA.

“The aim of the Compensation Service is ‘to support the victims of crime and people who have suffered loss.’ Political interference in such a decision is not appropriate. The panel awarded compensation to the mother and the grandmother of Mr Doherty.

“Kieran was stripped, bound and shot dead by members of the Real IRA three years ago, causing shockwaves of emotion, fear and anger across the community. Kieran, like us all, had a past, he had served a sentence for robbery, but had turned his life around and had sought to marry his partner.

“Those who took his life have shattered a family and a relationship. That is the basis on which the compensation application was made. That is something we in this House should have no input into.

“We are here to lead, not to interfere in the day to day workings of Non-Departmental Public Bodies, when there is no merit for it. The Panel should be allowed to freely carry out its duties in line with the guidelines of the Scheme, and we as public representatives should be supporting that work.

“Vincent Coyle, the uncle of the late Kieran, is in the public gallery today. He told me earlier that every mothers tear weighs the same. Today we should not be focussing on one person, on one family, I believe that to be a distraction.

“Let’s talk about all victims, their stories, their families and their lives, let us have that real debate.”