Victims of Libyan-sponsored IRA attacks have said they are “upset and angered” that Tony Blair has refused to attend an inquiry into the Government’s role in getting compensation for those affected.
A parliamentary inquiry , headed up by the Northern Ireland Select Committee, is looking into the role of the UK Government in seeking compensation for the victims of IRA attacks that used Semtex and other weapons provided by the former Muammar Gaddafi regime.
The committee chairman called the former Prime Minister to answer allegations that he brokered a deal between America and Gaddafi that, for the benefit of the oil industry, saw US/Libyan diplomatic relations restored but UK victims denied justice.
Blair has refused the invitation to give oral evidence, claiming he has nothing to add to the written evidence he submitted on December 11.
However, the UK victims - that include those caught up in the 1996 bomb in South Quay , where two died and more than 40 were injured - say that, given the allegations against him, he owes it to them to answer the inquiry’s questions in person and give a full account of what happened.
President for the Docklands Victims Association, Jonathan Ganesh, said: “Mr Blair continues to deny his involvement in the US/Libyan deal that deprived the UK victims of compensation but the evidence strongly suggests otherwise.
“A one-page letter to the inquiry that skirts over the issues is simply not good enough. If Blair cares as much about the victims of IRA terrorism as he says he does, then he should be willing to answer the inquiry’s questions in person so that the victims and the country can get to the truth of the matter.”
Mr Blair was briefly questioned about the IRA victims during a separate inquiry by the Foreign Affairs Committee , which is looking into his and his Government’s relationship with Libya and Gaddafi.
He said: “The compensation for IRA victims were handled under the compensation provisions that were in place under a previous Government.
“And I think that was the position as it was accepted not just in my Government but the previous Government as well.”