UK government urged by MPs to “exploit Libya’s frozen assets” to compensate IRA attacks’ victims
Outgoing British Prime Minister Theresa May should use her final days in power to exploit Libyan assets frozen in Britain to pay victims of Irish republican terrorism, an influential MP said on Sunday.
The UK government confirmed last week that it secured £17 million in tax over the past three years from £12 billion of funds frozen since 2011, when ousted Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi was killed.
The money should be used in a compensation scheme for victims of the Irish Republican Army, said Nigel Dodds, deputy leader of a small Northern Irish party that has propped up Mrs May’s government.
“In the final days of her premiership, the prime minister should take decisive action and begin righting this terrible wrong,” Mr Dodds wrote in The Sunday Telegraph.
“The UK taxpayer should not be out of pocket for the actions of an evil dictator like Qaddafi.
“But if we wait until there is a political settlement with Libya then I fear many of the victims who suffered as a result of Libyan Semtex and guns will never see a single penny.”
The Libyan regime’s supply of Semtex explosive in the mid-1980s led to a deadly campaign of bombings across the UK.
High-profile targets included the Harrods store in London in 1983, in which six people were killed, and London Docklands in 1996 where two people died and tens of millions of pounds of damage was done.
British MPs in April called on the government to enter into direct talks with Libya to secure compensation for Qaddafi-sponsored terrorism.
The request was rebuffed as the government said the compensation issue would be better resolved when a divided Libya had a stable government.