£35m paid to people injured in Troubles violence as more applicants sought

Almost £35 million has been paid out to those who suffered a significant injury as a result of violence in Northern Ireland’s troubled past.

An information campaign has been launched to attempt to reach potential applicants living outside of Northern Ireland.

The Victims’ Payments Board, which is responsible for the Troubles Permanent Disablement Payment Scheme, said anyone who may have suffered permanent disabling physical or psychological injuries as a result of a Troubles-related incident should consider applying to the scheme.

Leaflets with further information about the scheme will be delivered to every household in Northern Ireland from Monday.

The leaflet provides information on the key elements of the scheme, including background information, how to make an application, information around providing evidence, as well as signposting potential applicants towards the various groups who provide free support services to those wishing to apply.

To date, more than 6,500 applications have been received and more than £34.8 million has been paid out to victims.

The Victims’ Payments Board is committed to raising awareness about the scheme to ensure everyone who may be eligible to apply can do so.

It is therefore encouraging anyone from Great Britain, the Republic of Ireland, Europe and further afield who may have suffered a permanent physical and/or psychological disablement to consider applying.

More than 500 applications have already been received from outside Northern Ireland.

Paul Bullick, secretary to the board, said as years pass it is becoming more urgent that those injured in the Troubles should make an application to the scheme.

Troubles Permanent Disablement Payment Scheme
Paul Bullick is secretary to the Victims’ Payment Board (PA)

“As the years roll on, it is becoming more urgent that those injured in these Troubles-related incidents should make themselves known to us.

“To this end the Victims’ Payments Board is reaching out to every household in Northern Ireland with detailed information about the scheme and we would ask everyone to read this carefully and, if you know of someone who may be eligible to make an application, to please pass this on.

“We are receiving a large volume of applications, and it is important to stress that the decision process could be a lengthy one.

“These are complex matters, and no two applications are the same. Each one must be considered on its own merit and while we have taken steps to ensure that all applications are progressed in a victim-centric way, we would again ask for the public’s patience as we carry out the necessary checks.”

Kenny Donaldson, director of SEFF, said the victims’ group has submitted more than 1,200 applications, and welcomes the initiative to reach more potential applicants.

“We both support and welcome this initiative taken by the Victims Payment Board in conjunction with the Department of Justice to send details of the scheme via a mail shot flyer, delivered to all homes across Northern Ireland,” he said.

“It is so important that there is awareness of the scheme amongst all those who may be eligible. They should be aware of the scheme and then opt in or opt out as they would choose.

“The scheme is already making a difference within the lives of many people and, yes, the scheme can be protracted but this is often for very good reasons.

“We remain strongly of the view that the Secretary of State should and must announce an extension to the deadline date for backdated payments to be made, which is currently set at 31 August 2024.

“No-one should be further disadvantaged and experience injustice due to lack of awareness around a scheme’s very existence. This is particularly true of those living in peripheral areas.”

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