Pension plan for injured victims of N Ireland Troubles

Severely injured victims of the Northern Ireland Troubles will receive almost £10,000 a year under Government pension proposals.

The payment scale for the pension for those living with the consequences of conflict will range from £1,974 to £9,870, depending on the extent and seriousness of the disability sustained.

The figures are outlined in a consultation document on the new scheme published on Tuesday.

Legislation that requires the Government to introduce a scheme came into effect at midnight on Monday.

The Northern Ireland (Executive Formation etc) Act 2019 will see regulations to introduce the scheme in place by the end of January next year, to be in operation by the end of May.

The idea of pension for victims has been the source of controversy amid suggestions injured paramilitaries could get paid.

However, the Government proposals make clear that the pension will only be paid to those injured through no fault of their own.

Those deemed to have been injured by their own actions, proved by way of criminal conviction, will not be in line for financial support under the scheme.

In the foreword to the consultation, Northern Ireland Secretary Julian Smith said the legacy of the Troubles still casts a “long shadow” over many aspects of life in the region.

“More than 3,500 people were killed and an estimated 40,000 injured during that awful period,” he said.

“It is clear through engagement with victims, survivors and others that the hurt and suffering caused by decades of terrible violence have had a profound and deep-rooted impact not just on individuals but on generations of families in Northern Ireland, Great Britain and beyond.

“Those living with the consequences of serious injury do so with a constant reminder of those dark days in our history.

“Many of their injuries are physical but a significant number of survivors also continue to suffer from deep psychological trauma.

“It is, therefore, not surprising that many struggle with normal daily routine tasks, and are struggling to cope financially.

“There are no easy answers as to how we should address the legacy of Northern Ireland’s past.

“However, as a society we have a moral duty to acknowledge and recognise the unacceptable suffering of those seriously injured in the Troubles as part of wider efforts to support Northern Ireland in building its future by doing more to address its past.”

Addressing the contentious issue of eligibility, he added: “For too long this matter has stalled on the question of who should and who should not benefit from it.

“In this regard the UK Government has and continues to be clear that those injured by their own hand should not in any way benefit from any proposals to provide acknowledgement and recognition to victims injured through no fault of their own.”

The consultation will run until November 26.

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