26 March 2006

Share Gadaffi cash says Shankill man

Sunday Life

Ciaran McGuigan
26 March 2006

VICTIMS of IRA violence who are suing Libyan leader Colonel Gadaffi have been urged to share any compensation offer with the families of men and women murdered by loyalist paramilitaries.

A number of relatives of IRA victims are taking a civil action against Gadaffi and his government, claiming that for more than three decades he supplied war materials that left their loved ones dead or maimed.

At the forefront of the legal action is Michelle Williamson, whose parents Gillian and George were killed when the IRA blew up Frizzell's fish shop on the Shankill Road in 1993.

Their campaign, first raised in Sunday Life three years ago, follows the massive £1.7bn package offered by Libya to the relatives of the Lockerbie atrocity.

Alan McBride, who lost his wife Sharon in the Shankill bomb, welcomed the action, but called for any money that is paid out to be shared among all the victims of terrorist violence in Northern Ireland.

He suggests that compensation from Libya, if forthcoming, or any reparations for suffering during the Troubles should be brought together into a central fund.

"I am all in favour of people going after justice. Colonel Gadaffi sponsored terrorism in Northern Ireland, and should be targeted," he said.

"But the other side of the coin is that it does not sit easy for me when the quest for justice is one-sided.

"If the action was to be successful, I would much prefer the money to be distributed throughout Northern Ireland, and to all victims of violence, not just those who have suffered at the hands of the IRA, but all those who have suffered terrorist violence from whatever grouping.

"I would much prefer to see any forthcoming money pooled."

Lawyers working for the IRA victims are preparing to file lawsuits in the United States on behalf of American and British citizens who have been affected by IRA violence,

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