EIGHT people found guilty of being members of an IRA kidnapping gang have been awarded six-figure payouts after their convictions were quashed on appeal.
The defendants, including leading republican Danny Morrison, Sinn Féin’s former Director of Publicity, have been awarded at least £200,000 each by the British Government, the Times reports.
The seven men and one woman were on trial for the imprisonment of an informer Alexander ‘Sandy’ Lynch 25 years ago.
But the convictions were quashed by Northern Ireland’s Court of Appeal in October 2008 as the role of British secret agent Freddie Scappaticci, known as Stakeknife, in the kidnapping was not disclosed during trial proceedings.
The payout was revealed as families affected by the IRA’s campaign of violence still seek redress for the injuries or bereavements of their loved ones.
Following the announcement of the £1.6million award, the Northern Ireland Office (NIO) said: “We fully understand and share the public concern and anger there will be over this.”
Ulster Unionist Party MP Tom Elliott told the Daily Telegraph that republicans were being treated “like a protected species”. He added that “people left bereaved by the IRA do not get adequate compensation.”
Belfast-born MP Kate Hoey, a Labour member of the Northern Ireland Affairs Select Committee currently investigating compensation to victims of IRA bombings, said: “I wish the NIO would put as much time and effort into helping the IRA’s victims as they seem to have done to compensate those who appear to have been linked to paramilitary groups.”