Government rejects call for Libya-IRA victim compensation fund

The proposed fund was to compensate victims of Libyan-sponsored IRA attacks Credit: PA

The government has rejected calls for a UK reparations fund for victims of Libyan-sponsored IRA attacks.

The fund was a suggestion made by a cross-party group of MPs on the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee.

In a report published earlier this year, the committee said that former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi had armed the IRA with massive amounts of weaponry, extending the Northern Ireland conflict and causing enormous human suffering.

Victims and survivors told the committee Libya was responsible for murdering and maiming an estimated 3,500 British citizens.

But in its official response the government said it had "considered in detail the feasibility of establishing such a fund" but concluded it was "not a viable option".

It said it continued to raise the issue of compensation for victims of Gaddafi-sponsored IRA terrorism with the Libyan government at the highest levels.

It also noted that compensation claims were a private matter and that the Foreign Office is already helping those affected pursue claims.

Libya's former leader Muammar Gaddafi had armed the IRA with massive amounts of weaponry Credit: AP

MPs said the decision would be "deeply disappointing" to victims of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi-sponsored republican terrorism.

Kate Hoey, a senior Labour member of the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee at Westminster, said: "The government response is as unsurprising as it is unacceptable.

"They are telling people to seek justice on their own, to bear the cost and overcome the language barrier of obtaining compensation directly from the Libyan government.

"There is a duty to represent the victims, just as the US and German governments fought for compensation for their citizens."

A victims' spokesman said: "HMG's response to the inquiry, published today, ignores its criticism and conclusions while steadfastly refusing to take any meaningful action. Instead, it has abdicated all responsibility."

He said the inquiry's report had been ignored.

While the USA, France and Germany negotiated multi-million-pound settlements with Gaddafi for its citizens impacted by Libyan-sponsored terrorism, the previous Labour government in the UK has been heavily criticised for not striking a similar deal.