A new report from Queen’s University Belfast has found that most victims of The Troubles were inadequately compensated for the death of their loved ones.
The report, led by Professor Luke Moffett and Dr Kevin Hearty, found on average less stg£7,000 (€8,120) was given to victims, with 60% of families receiving less than £5,000 (€5,800).
There were also vast discrepancies in payments to victims killed in the same incidents even in the same family, with some given as little as £43 (€49).
Prof Moffett said this report shows the compensation for those killed during The Troubles “was not fit for purpose”.
“Many families were paid a pittance for the death of their loved ones,” he said.
“One mother received £112 after the murder of her two adult sons, a widower whose wife and mother of six was shot dead outside their home was awarded £84, and a father received £43 for his daughter killed in a bomb,” he said.
'Financial hierarchy of victims'
The report found that the owner of a greyhound knocked down by a car was awarded stg£700 (€812) and compared this to a mother of nine who was given £350 (€405) after the death of a loved one.
“Women, children, elderly, and cohabitees were failed by a system that only created a financial hierarchy of victims,” Prof Moffett said.
He said the controversial Legacy Bill becoming law in the UK will mean victims’ legal avenues to seek redress have been “terminated”.
The legislation offers a conditional amnesty to those accused of killings during The Troubles.
“Over 50 years on from the start of The Troubles we need a bereavement payment scheme to properly acknowledge and redress the suffering experienced by bereaved victims,” he said.
The report also found compensation was used by the security forces several times to avoid cases going before the European Court of Human Rights.
Dr Hearty said the compensation scheme showed a “system intent on short-changing victims, testing their resolve for prolonged legal action, and closing off avenues for legal accountability”.
“When courts determine that greyhound owners should be compensated twice as much as families bereaved through the conflict, the lack of compassion and dignity within the statutory system becomes abundantly clear.”