Victims of Libyan-fuelled IRA attacks have been told assets belonging to late dictator Colonel Muammar Gaddafi cannot be used for compensation.
Foreign Office minister Tobias Ellwood MP made the statement during a public inquiry at the Palace of Westminster in front of the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee over compensation for IRA attack victims , including those who suffered in the 1996 Docklands atrocity.
Victims are demanding assets – believed to be in the region of £900million – seized after Gaddafi was killed in 2011 are used to compensate them as the Semtex used in the attacks was from Libya.
But Mr Ellwood said international law prevented the UK government using the assets in that way and there was no government in Libya to deal with the payments. He did tell the inquiry that the government would seek compensation from a future Libyan administration though.
Democratic Unionist Party member Ian Paisley expressed his disbelief anything would be done.
He said: “Waiting for the Libyan authorities to sort themselves out is like waiting for Jeremy Corbyn to sing the national anthem.”
It is likely the committee will call former Prime Minister Tony Blair to the inquiry to answer the numerous questions that have been raised about his involvement with Gaddafi and to get answers as to why there has not been any movement with compensations for British and Irish IRA victims.
The president of the Docklands Victims Association Jonathan Ganesh spoke at the first day of the inquiry on Wednesday, September 9, and remains positive about the outcome of the case.