The former UK ambassador to Libya has cast doubt over whether UK and Irish victims of IRA attacks will ever get the compensation they are seeking.

Sir Vincent Fean KCVO was speaking at a public inquiry , led by the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee, looking into the role of the UK Government in seeking compensation for victims of Libyan-sponsored terrorist attacks, including those who suffered in the 1996 Docklands bomb.

Members of the Docklands Victims Association were among those seeking funds from the former Gaddafi regime. Since the dictator was killed in 2011 the country has not had a united ruling party.

Speaking at Portcullis House on Wednesday, October 14, as part of the third evidence giving session Sir Vincent said: “It’s important that this [case] is presented to the future Libyan Government.

“At the moment there are still two governments in Libya [but] there’s no other way of dealing with it.

“When a Government does form, my advice to the victims would be to make a connection with those who have suffered under Gaddafi and try to join together to fight for compensation as the Government will have a lot to sort out – jobs, education, security. From my experience if they can get away not paying it, they will.

“I believe the Government will disown all of Gaddafi’s actions, which will make it much harder for victims to get compensation.”

The victims were hoping to get compensation from Gaddafi’s seized and now frozen assets, however, in a previous session the inquiry heard this would not be possible for legal reasons.

When asked why UK and Irish victims had not already received compensation, when many other nationalities had, Sir Vincent said he felt this could be due to the litigators going after those who supplied the weapons instead of the perpetrators who set off the bombs; that not enough time had been available when this was first presented to the Government; and that there was an international agreement preventing it.