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Anti-Gaddafi protesters shout slogans during a protest in Benghazi February 24, 2011. Residents of Benghazi have jailed those they say are mercenaries and set up defences around this eastern city now out of the control of leader Muammar Gaddafi, who has lost control of swathes of Libya. After a week of violence in which it threw off government control, this elegant port of about 700,000 is being run by committees of citizens as the dust of rebellion settles. REUTERS/Suhaib Salem (LIBYA - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST)

Libya violence blow for IRA victims

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Anti-Gaddafi protesters shout slogans during a protest in Benghazi February 24, 2011. Residents of Benghazi have jailed those they say are mercenaries and set up defences around this eastern city now out of the control of leader Muammar Gaddafi, who has lost control of swathes of Libya. After a week of violence in which it threw off government control, this elegant port of about 700,000 is being run by committees of citizens as the dust of rebellion settles. REUTERS/Suhaib Salem (LIBYA - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST)

Victims of the IRA could lose out on billions in compensation from the Gaddafi regime as a result of the Libyan crisis.

The Sunday Telegraph has claimed that the imminent collapse of the Colonel Gaddafi reign in Libya has seriously hampered a secret €12 billion deal with the British government.

According to the Telegraph, the UK government was in advanced discussions on a package for the victims of IRA bombs built with Libyan supplied explosives.

The Telegraph reports: “The victim’s initiative would have included payouts for families of those killed and injured who are bringing the claim, as well as a huge cultural and social investment focusing on reconciliation projects, many in Northern Ireland.”

The paper also states that efforts to broker the deal were stepped up when the Conservatives came to power last May.

One insider said that if the deal had gone ahead it could have "helped to cement a lasting peace in Northern Ireland."

Now those behind the deal are keeping their fingers crossed that the imminent collapse of the Gaddafi empire may actually aid their campaign.

Human Rights lawyer Jason McCue, who acts on behalf of the victims, described the potential compensation deal as "extremely innovative."

He said: “The whole idea was to create a proper and solid foreign relationship with Libya that benefited victims, the people of Northern Ireland and the UK and indeed the people of Libya.

“There is no question that numerous meetings with members of the Gaddafi regime were absolutely pointless. But actually what we have learned from the experience and the Libyan people will enable us to fast-track the initiative with any new Libyan government.

“We had put a proposal on the table at the early stages. While some of the Libyans we dealt with in and out of government were courteous, respectful and keen, we hit difficulties with the Gaddafi regime who at times were dismissive and frustrating.

“All this time our whole team were acutely aware of the pain the delay must have been causing the victims.”

Meanwhile, efforts are ongoing to bring the remaining Irish citizens trapped in Libya home.

An Irish government jet flew into Dublin on Saturday with seven people who escaped to Malta by sea where they met with Air Corps personnel.

“There is a very small number of Irish people left in Tripoli,” a spokeswoman for the Department of Foreign Affairs said. “Evacuation sites are being wound down and those remaining have been told that they must decide on Sunday whether they are leaving the country or not.”

An Air Corps aircraft remains on standby in Malta as officials work to help two families leave Tripoli.

There are 21 Irish citizens still in Tripoli and six others in other parts of the country.

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