Unionist representatives in the Banbridge area have rounded on a local councillor who called for a pension for former paramilitaries injured in the troubles.
Banbridge Sinn Fein Councillor, Brendan Curran, made the comments on the BBC’s Spotlight programme which was investigating the plan to give a pension to around 400 people in Northern Ireland who live with permanent disabilities after surviving gun and bomb attacks.
Stating that his party would not support any pension that would benefit terrorists, Upper Bann DUP MP David Simpson said: “It was particularly disturbing to hear someone such as Brendan Curran presume to lecture the audience watching Spotlight of how he should be included in a proposal to assist victims.
“This is the same person who in 2012 said ‘There needed to be violence – and war is death.’
“That is the fundamental difference between Brendan Curran and the victims he created.
“Brendan Curran made a choice to be involved in terrorism, but those innocent people caught up in bomb explosions or the kind of violence so openly supported by Mr Curran had no choice.”
Banbridge UUP councillor Glenn Barr agreed. “It is morally unjustifiable that those innocent people injured by the actions of terrorists should be placed in the same category as those injured while carrying out acts of terror,” he said.
Councillor Curran served seven years in prison in connection with a 1974 bomb attack in Lurgan before going on to become a Sinn Fein councillor. In 1989 he was injured in a murder attempt on his life, claimed to be the direct result of information leaked to loyalist terrorist groups by members of the RUC or UDR.
He was turned down for compensation because of his terrorist involvement.
“If you’re giving victims a pension then it has to be done on the basis of equality - I was involved in the conflict, but I didn’t cause the conflict - the conflict came to me,” he said.
“A victim is a victim regardless of how it happened.”