IRA Docklands bombing victims plead for government to take up compensation fight with Libya

Joe Holbeach, Wayne Gruba, Ihsan Bashir, MrsBegum and Jonathan Ganesh at the memorial service. Pictu

Joe Holbeach, Wayne Gruba, Ihsan Bashir, MrsBegum and Jonathan Ganesh at the memorial service. Picture: DVA - Credit: Archant

Victims of the IRA Docklands bombing are lobbying the government to negotiate with Libya to secure compensation for Gaddafi-supplied Semtex attacks.

During a memorial service on the 24th anniversary of the attack on Sunday, February 9, victims made an emotional plea to the government to change its position, claiming some survivors who have tried to pursue compensation have taken their own lives.

Victims and their families have been told to launch individual claims themselves rather than rely on the government - despite the US, France and Germany having secured compensation for their own citizens who were affected.

Foreign Office minister Lord Tariq Ahmad of Wimbledon confirmed the UK's long-standing position is not to pursue government-to-government negotiations with Libya on behalf of victims.

Docklands Victims Association (DVA) has been campaigning for compensation for victims of IRA terrorists who used Semtex explosives supplied by the regime of Col Muammar Gaddafi.

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At the service on Sunday, DVA president Jonathan Ganesh, who was severely injured in the Docklands bombing in South Quay in 1996, said: "I appeal to open this matter at government-to-government level with the Libyans and not to degrade the victims, as previous UK governments have done, by expressing that this is a private matter for the victims to resolve.

"I'm appalled that our own government feels the victims, who have already endured immense suffering, can somehow resolve this matter."

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Speaking in the House of Lords on January 29, Mr Ahmad responded to a written question from Lord Reg Empey about whether the government had lodged a claim with Libya on behalf of UK citizens who suffered losses resulting from Libya's support for IRA terrorists during the Northern Ireland Troubles.

He said: "The Libyan government has a responsibility to deal with the legacy of the Qadhafi regime, as part of a broad process of national and international reconciliation and justice.

"We have a longstanding position of not pursuing government-to-government negotiations with Libya on behalf of victims of Qadhafi-sponsored IRA terrorism, but we continue to provide facilitation support to victims, their representatives and campaign groups.

"Ministers and our diplomats continue to press the Libyan authorities to engage constructively."

William Shawcross, who was appointed Special Representative on UK victims of Qadhafi-sponsored terrorism in March 2019, last week met with Mr Empey and other campaigners who have been attempting to help the UK victims to secure compensation.

Two men were killed and more than 100 people were injured when a truck bomb was detonated in the Docklands attack on February 9, 1996.

It was among atrocities carried out by the IRA across Britain using Libyan Semtex.

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