The family of a man murdered by the Real IRA have described a NI Assembly debate on the compensation they received as a “momentous day for victims”.
Kieran Doherty was murdered on the Braehead Road in 2010. His family were initially denied compensation from the Victim Support Agency due to intelligence received from the PSNI. However their appeal resulted in an award of £11,000. They say the PSNI and other evidence in relation to Kieran Doherty failed to stand up to close scrutiny.
On Tuesday Jim Allister, MLA, TUV, questioned Justice Minister David Forde over the payment on account of Mr. Doherty’s RIRA connections.
Speaking exclusively to the ‘Journal,’ Kieran’s mother Christine said: “The last few days my head has been all over the place. Hearing my son’s name mentioned in that debate was heartbreaking. No amount of money was worth going through that. I cried throughout the night before but now I’m glad it happened. I would love to see the remainder of the Troubles victims compensated. No family should suffer the way we have. No amount of money can compare to a life. Millions are no good to me.
“I now want other victims given the same focus. Politicians and all of us need to address the issue of victims.”
Mrs. Doherty then extended her thanks to Pat Ramsey, MLA, SDLP, who spoke on behalf of the Doherty family in the chamber.
Kieran’s uncle Vinny added: “This was the first time in ten years of the NI Assembly that the elephant in the room was mentioned. It was a momentous day for victims. This was the first discussion on who is and isn’t a victim. Bereaved mothers’ tears all weigh the same. The family have been touched by the expression of sympathy extended to us from every political party. I think it is important to stress that while Kieran’s name was thrown about both at the Assembly and in the media this week, at no point did he ever make an application for compensation. The family pursued the compensation bid as it was the best way of holding the PSNI to account over claims Kieran was involved in the drugs trade. Those claims were then exposed as unfounded in the High Court. The PSNI made a target of Kieran in life and continued to defame him after his death.”
Kieran’s sister Lindsay added: “Kieran’s name has been cleared now.”
Christine Doherty then revealed the family shielded Kieran’s daughter, Ceadach, 6, from any mention of the controversy. “She still remembers her daddy and often wears his glasses and asks, ‘Who am I?’”