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PM in U-turn seeking justice from Libya for IRA bomb victims

PUBLISHED: 11:17 20 November 2008 | UPDATED: 13:48 05 October 2010

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - FEBRUARY 1996: The scene at Canary Wharf, East London, after the IRA detonated a huge bomb destroying buildings and businesses. (Photo by Tom Stoddart/Getty Images)

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - FEBRUARY 1996: The scene at Canary Wharf, East London, after the IRA detonated a huge bomb destroying buildings and businesses. (Photo by Tom Stoddart/Getty Images)

1996 Tom Stoddart Archive

THE Prime Minister is looking again at the idea of seeking compensation from Libya for victims of IRA attacks. This would include the 1996 bombing at Canary Wharf when two men were killed and 39 others injured, some of whom are campaigning for justice 13 years on. Now Gordon Brown is being urged by MPs to follow America’s lead and negotiate with Gaddafi who was blamed for supplying Semtex to the IRA

Mike Brooke

THE Prime Minister is looking again at the idea of seeking compensation from Libya for victims of IRA attacks.

This would include the 1996 bombing at Canary Wharf when two men were killed and 39 others injured—including people living on Millwall’s Barkantine Estate nearby who are still campaigning for justice 13 years on.

Gordon Brown has been urged by MPs at Westminster to follow America’s lead and negotiate with Gaddafi who was blamed for supplying Semtex explosive and other weapons to the IRA.

The call was made in Parliament last night (Wednesday) by Essex MP Andrew McKinlay during Prime Minister’s Questions.

He asked Mr Brown if he would meet a delegation of MPs who lost constituents due to the IRA using Semtex originating in Libya.

“We are disappointed the Foreign Office hasn’t yet taken the initiative of following America’s example of negotiating compensation with Colonel Gaddafi,” McKinlay told the PM.

“I believe MPs on all sides really would want to press you, along with victims’ families, to address this wrong.”

Hopes of compensation over terrorist tragedies were dashed earlier this year when Gordon Brown indicated in a letter to lawyers representing IRA victims that he was not willing to seek compensation—despite the US Government acting on behalf of American citizens.

U-TURN

But now the Prime Minister appears to have a change of heart and has promised to review’ the issue.

He told the Thurrock Labour MP: “I would be happy to meet you to talk about it and then we will review what we do.”

The U-turn has been welcomed by campaigners on the Isle of Dogs who are still battling for justice and settlement following the IRA bomb which devastated Canary Wharf in 1996.

Security guard Jonathan Ganesh, who was injured and lost two friends in the atrocity, told the East London Advertiser today: “This switch is fantastic news for the families in Millwall who are still affected by what happened.

“We were disappointed at the Government not following the US example seeking compensation for the Libyans who have been let off scot-free.

“But now we can move forward and try and put all this behind us.”

Jonathan launched a petition only this week calling for justice, after receiving a letter from the Foreign Office last Friday saying Libya has answered questions about its involvement with the IRA and considers the matter closed.

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Foreign Office blow to IRA Canary Wharf bomb victims-13 years on

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