The wife of a former RUC officer who was shot in the head in an IRA ambush forty-one years ago is considering legal action over the delayed Victims’ Payment Scheme.
Rosemary Craig’s husband, Jim, and a colleague, attended a hoax burglary call when an IRA unit opened fire. He sustained two gunshot wounds to the head and was off work for a year as he underwent a painful recovery which included learning to walk and talk again.
An emotional Rosemary said: “My husband got a life sentence when he was shot in 1979, and I think it’s appalling to make anybody suffer the way the victims have suffered in Northern Ireland.
“I think it’s time that the MLAs and the Government got up from sitting on their posterior and did something about it.”
Both Jim and Rosemary don’t intend to let matters rest, as Rosemary explains: “I have instructed solicitors to take this matter forward on behalf of my husband because I think it’s absolutely disgraceful.
“I think that the Govt of Northern Ireland should hang their heads in shame. We have enough solicitors and barristers in that Government to know exactly how to take this matter forward.
“It is a matter for Westminster, in my submission, because it was there where the legislation was laid in the first instance.”
Jim vividly recalls the ambush and how the use of one of the first armoured Land Rover’s had saved his life and that of his colleague. He believes that what happened to him and thousands of other victims of terrorism is a chapter of history few want to remember.
Jim puts it like this: “We’re forgotten. We’re brushed under the carpet. They don’t want to remember victims whether it’s the likes of me as a police officer or former soldiers or civilians caught up in things. They don’t want to remember because this brings the whole thing back. This is the face that they don’t want to know.”
Jim isn’t holding his breath waiting for the scheme to be implemented. Too many false dawns have led him to be temper expectations.
“Whenever it comes into law and whenever its paid, that’s the first time I will accept that they are actually doing something.
“I know what Government are like: they promise you the earth on one side, and they do absolutely nothing on the other.
“For the likes of Boris Johnson as the Prime Minister, to turn around and say that ‘Oh this is disgusting’, well, if it’s disgusting, do something about it. You’re the guy in the big picture, you do it.
“If I didn’t do my job as a police officer, I would have been out of office. I’d have been thrown out and I think the same thing should apply to politicians who don’t do their job. Do your job, that’s all we’re asking. That’s what you’re paid to do.”