Victims group FAIR is hitting out at Government claims that more than 60,000 ex-members of the UDR and Royal Irish Regiment will benefit from a £2m a year service to help them deal with the legacy of the Troubles.
FAIR is describing the claim as “misleading” and says that the vast majority of families will not qualify for support as the service is means tested.
Director of FAIR, William Frazer, said: “We welcome any type of help, but the Government should be truthful about what is available here and to whom. They say £2m is being put into past members of the UDR and RIR, especially families who lost loved ones, but that is not the case.
“A lot of the soldiers leaving received lump sums and the UDR families who lost loved ones are on benefits which means they will not be entitled to additional help – the same scenario as the UDR Benevolent Fund. If this is being means tested, they won’t qualify.”
Mr. Frazer went on to say that the help being offered through the new service is more likely to be used by families affected by current conflicts.
He added: “This is more about setting up a welfare system for those involved in present day conflicts in Iraq or Afghanistan, where already a number of people from Northern Ireland have been killed or injured. We, as victims ourselves, welcome the new service, but the Government shouldn’t try to portray it as help for people in the Troubles.
“Victims here have family members serving overseas and hopefully there will be very few casualties.
“But the Government is clearly expecting some so they are setting up this new service more to deal with that as they have no plan in place at the moment. They are just using this as a cover. It is an utter disgrace.”
HELP US TELL THE TRUTH