Foyle Sinn Féin MLA Raymond McCartney has said it is “totally unsatisfactory” that a Derry man whose home was damaged in the bomb attack on the Ulster Bank, Culmore Road, was turned down for compensation.
A number of homes in the vicinity of the bank were damaged in the bomb attack, which was carried out by the Real IRA in October 2010.
Mr McCartney said the man was refused compensation because of confusion over a deadline.
The Foyle MLA said: “I was contacted by a constituent who encountered problems when they tried to claim compensation from the Department of Justice (DoJ) for damage caused to their home by a bomb at the Ulster Bank on the Culmore Road. They were refused compensation on the grounds the Compensation Agency said that they had missed the qualifying deadline.
“I contacted the department and explained that my constituent hadn’t been properly informed about the processes around applying for compensation or about any deadlines and that as result of this they lost out on a claim.
“The Department of Justice admitted that there was a problem with the process and that they would review it to make sure that this kind of thing didn’t happen again; but they said nothing could be done for my constituent. I find this totally unsatisfactory.”
Mr McCartney said he has raised the issue with the Justice minister. “I subsequently wrote to the Minister of Justice David Ford and asked what steps the Compensation Agency intends to take to review its communications with the loss adjusters to ensure that residents are given the necessary information to be able to pursue a claim for personal damage or damage to property caused by bomb explosions. And what would be the timescales for any such review?
“His officials have replied in a written response to say said that The Compensation Agency has undertaken a review of their procedures for multiple damage incidents, and new procedures will be implemented from 1 March 2012.
“The Agency’s loss adjusters, when visiting scenes after major incidents, will distribute guidance booklets and initial claim forms to residents whose properties have been damaged.”