Independent expert to assess Libya compensation campaign

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An independent assessor from a legal background is to be appointed to advance a compensation campaign by victims of Libyan-sponsored IRA violence, politicians in Northern Ireland have said.

The work would include assessing how many people could potentially qualify and what levels of redress should be requested.

Suzanne Dodd, whose police officer father Stephen Dodd was killed in the Harrods store bombing in 1983, said the measure did not go far enough.

“It is one small step forward, in the last five years of me campaigning this.”

This week marked the 35th anniversary of the IRA bomb at the London store where six people were killed and 90 injured.

Ms Dodd added: “Yes it is a small step but what we have to deal with at the moment is I am one of the youngest victims of the Harrods bombing and I am 42 years old.

“My father, for instance, they have all gone.

“It has a big knock-on effect, that everyone is getting older and the British Government are just waiting for us to die.”

The campaign by victims of IRA blasts using Libyan Semtex plastic explosives, including at Harrods, has been running for years.

1983 Harrods bombing
This week marked the 35th anniversary of the IRA bomb at the Harrods store in London where six people were killed and 90 injured (PA)

Dictator Muammar Gaddafi armed the Provisionals with massive amounts of weaponry, extending the Northern Ireland conflict and causing enormous human suffering, MPs have said.

These also included bombings at a Remembrance Day ceremony in Enniskillen in 1987, Warrington in 1993, and London’s Docklands in 1996.

The DUP and Ulster Unionists met Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt this week.

The Foreign Office said it would be writing to MPs to set out the next steps.

35th anniversary of Harrods bomb
Commemorations this week marking the anniversary at Harrods (Joe Giddens/PA)

“This is all very complicated and delicate work, but is necessary to move things forward.”

South Belfast DUP MP Emma Little-Pengelly added: “There was some positive news in the meeting and a step forward for the campaign.

“Mr Hunt agreed to draw up terms of reference for the appointment of an independent person who would work with closely with the Government and with victims to advance the campaign.”

Jonathan Ganesh, president of the Docklands Victims Association, said: “We are very pleased that finally after years of campaigning for equality the UK Government appeared to have made a meaningful commitment to the victims of Gaddafi/IRA terrorism.

“It was undoubtedly the worst moment in the UK history as the UK, France and German governments fought for their victims and we were abandoned by our government.

“Hopefully we will rectify this appalling injustice that devalued the life of every UK citizen.”

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