The death of ex-Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi could pave the way for the settlement of legal claims by IRA victims and their families in Northern Ireland, according to Democratic Ulster Party’s (DUP) Jeffrey Donaldson.
During the 1980s, Gaddafi sent large quantities of arms and explosives to Ireland to be used by the Irish Republican Army (IRA). Donaldson, from Lagan Valley, has said these Semtex explosives were used during the 1993 IRA bombing of Warrington, Merseyside.
Donaldson said, “I don’t think anybody will be comforted but there will be widespread relief that this has happened and that we finally see an end to his evil regime…This now clears the way for what we hope will be the conclusion of our negotiations with the new government to settle the legal claims which have been made by a small number of IRA victims.
“We will be pressing for the establishment of a fund to assist the wider group of victims who suffered as a result of Gaddafi’s sponsorship of the IRA and his arming of the IRA during the earliest years of the troubles.”
Two young boys, Tim Parry and Jonathan Ball, died in the IRA blast in Warrington. Other mass killings across the UK were also blamed on Libyan arms.
In 2003, the UN Security Council voted to lift sanctions against Libya. At the time, the DUP’s Ian Paisley Jr. argued that they country should first pay compensation to the IRA victims.
As part of these negotiations, Libya provided information on the millions of pounds and 120 tonnes of weaponry which they had given the IRA.
In 2009 Northern Ireland politicians started talks with Tripoli to secure compensation for 160 victims of the Provisional IRA. The group has not put a price on the amount they expect for the victims. However the US compensation group has been paid $1.5 billion.