The Government has missed its deadline to respond to a Parliamentary inquiry into compensation for UK victims of Libyan-sponsored IRA terrorism.
The Northern Ireland Affairs Committee published its long-awaited report on May 2, criticising the numerous delays and missed opportunities over the years.
It found successive UK Governments had failed to support victims of Libyan-IRA terrorism, while American German and French governments had successfully lobbied Libya to pay compensation.
The committee said the UK Government must secure money for victims, including those injured by the 1996 Docklands bomb, by the end of the year.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office was due to file its response by July 2 but missed the deadline, according to London-based law firm McCue And Partners which is representing some of the victims affected by dictator Col Gaddafi’s sponsorship of terror, although not those in Docklands.
The missed deadline was discovered on Thursday, July 6, when, in answer to a parliamentary question, the Government announced its response would not be ready until after the summer recess.
The FCO said the delay was because government was in purdah “for much of the time between May 2 and June 30” because of the general election, reports the Belfast News Letter .
Ministers had “only limited time” to consider the committee’s report in detail. It said a response would be given in September.
The Government has persistently opposed moves by UUP peer Lord Empey to free up £9.5billion of terror-linked Libyan assets frozen in the UK to help compensate victims. Ministers have pointed out that the money belongs to the Libyan authorities and people and is frozen by international agreement, therefore not in the gift of the UK.
Docklands Victims Association president Jonathan Ganesh said: “I’m very saddened with the length of time this is taking to resolve.
“Victims are now having to sell their homes to pay for care and the others have died waiting for the government to help.
“I’m sorry this is terrible as victims from the US, France and Germany were compensated 10 years ago and do not have to sale their homes to pay for care.”
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