Independent expert to assess Libya compensation campaign

An independent assessor from a legal background is to be appointed to advance a compensation campaign by victims of Libyan-sponsored IRA violence, the Foreign Office has 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)

The bereaved and injured are pressing for UK Government support for their bid for compensation paid out of the large number of frozen assets seized from the toppled Gaddafi administration.

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)

UUP peer Sir Reg Empey welcomed the progress.

“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.”

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