Opinion article for Belfast Media Group by RFJ Family Support Worker Mark Sykes

So there’s to be yet another concession to the DUP with twenty-million pounds for the part-time reserve of the PSNI, which is essentially the old RUC reserve, in the form of a ‘one off gratuity payment’.

We have already had numerous initiatives benefiting the RUC such as the Patten Severance payments and eleven-million to the ‘George Cross Foundation‘. Also the UDR and RIR have had what the DUP already term as ‘suitable financial packages’ during the last few years.

The Irish Times reported this year that the expected severance payments would reach the billion pound mark. The average payment is between 116k to 230k. It has been reported that some payments for senior officers are in excess of one-million pounds. This does not take into account the overall costs of retaining personal weapons.

This has been in addition to individual members of these same organisations also being the main beneficiaries on schemes such as the Memorial Fund, which also has to cater with limited resources for all other victims/survivors who were not members of these same organisations, and through the mushrooming of groups that predominantly represent their views and needs within the victim/survivor sector downloading millions.

There is also the claim referred to as ‘hearing loss’ which is estimated to run into at least one-hundred million, the PTSD cases also running into tens of millions, and of course the thirty-odd million to relocate officers after the so-called ‘Stormont Gate’ spy ring. Not to mention the millions on the SPED Scheme in the past several years in addition to generous ‘resettlement/movement payments’.

Of course this proved not to be a spy ring at all but rather an elaborate plot by leading Special Branch chiefs to deliberately collapse a democratically elected power sharing government simply because it involved Irish republicans and yet they are to be rewarded.

If we apply the DUP logic of a victim then surely there should be no such payments to these organisations. It should follow that because of their record overall concerning wrongdoing that former members of the RUC should receive nothing.

The question remains about the direct victims of the RUC and the British army, including the RIR and UDR, and those killed through collusion and what they are therefore entitled to.

When the Recognition Payment by Eames/Bradley was announced it was the DUP that was most offended and outraged by the recommendation.
Probably the best solution is to allocate a special reparations fund to which all these issues, and the other numerous conflict-related issues, can be independently assessed and financially supported. This is especially the case for the thousands of ordinary bereaved families and those injured who are effectively ignored by this highly selective and politicised approach. As it stands only those unionists that participated in the conflict through the so-called ‘security forces’ and who created thousands of victims currently benefit through a multiple of initiatives. To use a common unionist phrase ‘this is morally repugnant’.