Special Scheme for Innocent Victims of the Troubles

Axel Schmidt, said: “This scheme is meant to deliver practical financial relief for innocent victims of the Troubles who have been physically or psychologically injured.

“Some of these people sustained appalling physical and psychological injuries in deplorable terrorist attacks. They deserve to be treated with respect and kindness.

“Victims of terrorism will have to apply and those who qualify may receive annual payments ranging from £2,000 to £10,000.

“It is clear that the government heeded the voice of victims of terrorism in drawing up this scheme since it would have been a monstrous piece of legislation if bombers or gunmen had been included. This would only have served to re-traumatise the real victims of these cowardly acts of terrorism.

“We particularly welcome the decision by the government to increase the number of injured people who will qualify in order to benefit spouses and carers who look after seriously injured individuals. However, the scope of the exclusion of perpetrators on the grounds of a relevant conviction or exceptional circumstances, which makes entitlement to victims’ payments inappropriate, remains unclear. We will continue to pressurise the government for clarity of this aspect of the scheme.

“For this reason we have to take at face value the assurance that only innocent victims will benefit. We will be carefully monitoring the operation of the scheme to ensure that this commitment is fulfilled.”