A sting in the tail to the public purse

Muarice Hayes in today’s Irish Independent, points out the some of the potential ramifications if the class action to be taken by 5000 former and serving police officers is successful.He is unambiguous about the experience of the RUC under fire:

More than that, however, it will expose to public scrutiny the sufferings of members of the RUC, 307 of whom were killed in the Troubles. This action is about those who survived, not only those who were incapacitated, disabled or grossly injured, but those who encountered horror in the wake of an explosion or fire bomb. Those who had, literally, to pick up the pieces of dismembered bodies and put them into plastic bags, those who had to scramble through blood and brains and body parts in the search for clues or survivors.

There were those too who saw their closest colleagues and friends shot down or vapourised beside them by a bomb, those who spent a quarter of a century in fear of their lives, never safe from a sneak attack even when off duty, even in the privacy of their own homes and in the presence of their children. Little wonder that many of them feel traumatised. It is a little-noticed fact too that six police officers died for every one shot by them. The picture of the RUC as a trigger-happy band of gunmen does not fit the facts.

But he goes on to argue that success in this action could unleash claims from others who might justly claim to have been traumatised by their professional experience of the troubles:

THE impact of a decision, if the case is upheld, will be very serious. Not only will there be a potential liability of hundreds of millions sterling, but the case will be made for similar treatment for firemen, ambulance men, nurses, paramedics, doctors, street sweepers and others exposed by duty to dealing with the effects of bombings and shootings.

  • Bogexile

    The case of Prison Officers is perhaps the other ‘elephant in the room.’

    The psychological trauma and long term damage suffered by thousands of NIPS staff in containing very sophisticated paramilitary terrorists in the Maze has never been well articulated. I imagine that some bright spark in the POA (given the lamentable treatment by the NIO of Prison Officers as compared against Police) will take some legal advice on this one.

    But still a rather uncomfortable prospect.

  • David

    Personally, i do not think that the police officers deserve any kind of compensation. They knew what they signed up for when they joined the police at the heart of the troubles, and another point, there were many police who caused secterian violence back in the 70s, how do we know that the people asking for compensation aren’t the ones who caused the violence and biggotry?

  • sure they did it for ulster

    There were those who actively participated in the targeting and murder of innocent nationalists. There were those who actively intimidated and bullied innocent nationalists. There were those who turned a blind eye to loyalist violence and criminality. There were those who did not provide an impartial , reliable and effective police service. Those who actively discriminated against nationalists. Those who were extremely well paid for what they did and more often than not what they didn’t do.Those who lived in houses partly paid for with ‘mortgage relief’. Those who lived in houses with sophisticated security systems.
    It is a well known fact that there was a shoot to kill policy covered up by senior officers and government ministers.
    Then there were those who were guilty by association, by turning a blind eye to the corruption.

    Is it possible for Joe public to take a class action for the trauma suffered as a result of long term corruption, negligence, intimidation, collusion, discrimination and ineptitude of the RUC?

  • Comrade Stalin

    It is a well known fact that there was a shoot to kill policy covered up by senior officers and government ministers.

    If it was covered up, then how could it be a well-known fact ?

  • missfitz

    For what its worth, I think one of the central issues in this case will be whether or not the authorities fulfilled their duty of care by providing adequate and internationally recognised treatment regimes for affected staff. Did the OHS implement effective counselling, debriefing and other interventions in a timely and appropriate fashion? If and when they knew that this exposure posed a risk to mental health, were they pro-active in assessing psychological wellness for duty?

    While Vietnam Vets successfully obtained treatment, it was a long uphill battle. The National Centre for PTSD was set up in 1989, so we know that there was a international centre for excellence and referral, if there had been any doubt.

    http://www.mental-health-today.com/ptsd/dsm.htm

    For anyone interested in the DSM IV classification

  • sure they tried to do it for ulster

    It is a well known fact that there was a shoot to kill policy covered up by senior officers and government ministers.

    If it was covered up, then how could it be a well-known fact ?

    maybe should have read

    It is a well known fact there was a shoot to kill policy within the RUC which senior officers tried to cover up.

    Which also adds deception to the growing list of failures of the RUC.