Unionists’ anger over ‘Sunday’ compo claims

January 1972 - Bloody Sunday'Soldiers killed 14 unarmed people; Father Edward Daly and others try to get medical aid for one of those shot.'Stanley Matchett

January 1972 - Bloody Sunday'Soldiers killed 14 unarmed people; Father Edward Daly and others try to get medical aid for one of those shot.'Stanley Matchett

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Unionist politicians have reacted angrily to reports that the families of those shot dead on Bloody Sunday have been offered around £50,000 each in compensation by the British Ministry of Defence.

It’s also understood that those seriously injured during the anti-internment march in Derry in January 1972 are to receive similar offers.

Lawyers representing the families and the MoD are still negotiating and the reported figures are not thought to be a final settlement.

Traditional Unionist Voice (TUV) leader Jim Allister said of the reports: “After the millions already spent on inquires and investigations into Bloody Sunday, this is another handout from the British taxpayer.

“A multitude of victims have never had a single penny spent on any inquiry investigating the murder of their loved ones, much less a cheque for £50,000.”

“As far as Bloody Sunday is concerned, it seems nothing will ever be enough,” he said.

The DUP’s Gregory Campbell questioned the process which led to the £50,000 figure.

“As far as I am aware when people receive some form of compensation, there are criteria about whether they had dependents, their age and their possible earning potential,” he said.

“That doesn’t appear to have applied in this case. It seems to be a carte blanche £50,000 irrespective of circumstances.

“Many people who had loved ones killed in the early part of the Troubles in the 1970s got a pittance in comparison to this, some of them got nothing whatsoever.”

Law firm Madden and Finucane, which represents the majority of the Bloody Sunday relatives, said: “Negotiations in respect of compensation are continuing with the Ministry of Defence and their legal representatives.

“The contents of those negotiations shall remain confidential between the families of those murdered and the wounded whom we represent and the MoD.”

A spokesperson for the MoD said: “Discussions with the families’ solicitors about compensation are ongoing and any speculation about payments is unhelpful and premature.”

Last week, a sister of one of those gunned down in the Bogside branded the compensation reports a “distraction”.

Kate Nash, whose brother William was shot dead at the rubble barricade on Rossville Street, said the compensation offer was a stalling tactic by the Ministry of Defence.

She said the families wanted prosecutions of the soldiers responsible for the killings.

“To me that is more important, I am not interested in money,” she said.

“It is a distraction from the real issue which is ending impunity and getting the soldiers to court.

“I am not remotely interested in money, not now, and even after prosecutions, we are not interested in money.”