Ulster Human Rights Watch (UHRW) says that a year on from the introduction of the ‘Troubles’ pension scheme, less than a tenth of innocent victims of terrorism have submitted applications.

According to the Victims’ Payment Board, some 45 cases have been deemed eligible for payment. A total of 2,600 applications have been lodged and 900 of them are with Capita for medical assessment.

UHRW Advocacy Manager, Axel Schmidt, said: “This was never going to achieve overnight success. However, it is disappointing that so few have met the threshold for the Troubles Permanent Disablement Payment Scheme so far.

“Even the figure of 2,600 applications falls far short of the number of innocent victims of terrorism who are out there suffering in silence.

“We estimate that the total number of innocent victims of terrorism is in the region of between 26-30,000, so there is a very long way to go to get financial help to people who desperately need it.

“UHRW would urge people to come forward. Our organisation and our partners, the Ely Centre, will gladly assist with the application process to ensure victims get their entitlement.

“We cannot leave anyone behind. As a society, we owe it to innocent victims to do all we can to help. They didn’t ask to be burdened with life-changing physical and/or psychological injuries as a result of the actions of terrorists.

“The Victims’ Payments Board is ramping up activity and my hope is that we will see a more streamlined and faster process in place.

“So far, 110 determinations have been made, but only 45 of them are eligible. That means 65 applicants have not qualified and that is disappointing, but this should definitely not discourage victims from coming forward to apply.

“These payments range between £2,000 and £10,000 per annum and it is in the interests of victims that they come forward with applications. The contact details for The Ely Centre and UHRW are: 028 6632 0977 and 028 3834 4500.”