Compensation ruling

The High Court has ruled in favour of the claim for compensation made by former RUC and PSNI officers who suffer from trauma.

  • BogExile

    This is a really difficult one. Their suffering in being confronted with some absolutely horrendous situations is undeniable and must for many have left both mental as well as physical scars.

    However, what about Paramedics and the Fire service? How about the trauma suffered by Prison Officers as they endured years of what amounts to psychological torture from paramilitaries trying to gain control.

    Is there a hierarchy of suffering in the public services which all struggled through the trauma of terrorism to deliver a service to people?

  • jone

    Bog,

    Surely the relevant trade unions for those other services could just follow the example of the Fed and stick in a claim?

  • jpeters

    all state employees should have access to compo for mental injury

    however i this case i think that lack of access to post incident care and support might have been the issue.

    one would assume these were in place for fire and ambulance

  • George

    Bogexile,
    the relevant issue here is not only that these people suffered trauma in doing a job for which they were paid for but also that their employers failed to take into account that they suffered the trauma.

    That is where the negligence comes in.

    If an ambulance driver suffered trauma and his employers failed to notice it and act upon it, instead sending him/her back into the “field”, I assume they too would be open to a claim.

    Perhaps in the RUC there was a greater culture of silence about such issues than in the ambulance service.

  • Truth Hurts

    It is time that somebody proposed a class action on behalf of every child that had to endure the trauma of the troubles. This action would be brought against both the Government and the known perpetrators of the violence.

  • joeCanuck

    Myself, I’m a birth survivor.

  • Reds under the Beds

    I am sure the SDLP will be happy with this ruling!

  • BogExile

    ‘Myself, I’m a birth survivor.’

    I don’t always (ever) agree with Joe Canuck but he makes a relevant point in his way.

    I have enormous regard for the RUC and the personal sacrifice police officers and their families have been through over 30 years of terrorism.

    But, in the end, they are police officers who freely joined a hazzardous occupation. those who were injured in the line of duty were entitled to criminal injury compensation and other well deserved benefits including disability pensions etc.

    I suppose my point is really about the medicalisation of risk. Risk is inherent in everything – from birth onwards. Obvious negligence from employers, I conceed, needs to be addressed and those who suffered from it compensated.

    The question is where do you and should you stop in compensating individuals. Police officers in Northern Ireland were very clear about the risks and their willingness to accept that enormous personal risk has been recognised in the GC award.

    But what about the civilians who just ended up in the wrong place at the wrong time? Aren’t they entitled to sue the Government for a failure of duty of care. Will Gordon Brown sue God? Where does it end?

  • George

    BoxExile,
    there was a case a while back of an Irish soldier serving in the Lebanon with the UNIFIL.

    The Irish High Court ruled that he was not inclined to compensation simply because during his work as a soldier in the Irish Defence Forces he was exposed to stress.

    This was to be expected by soldiers serving with UNIFIL.

    However plaintiff did recover damages for PTSD when he proved that his employers were negligent because they failed to recognise and treat his obvious sympthoms of PTSD.

    Information on PTSD had been distributed to his superiors. He was awarded 218,900 pounds (pre-euro times).

    Employers can’t escape their responsibilities simply because the employee is doing a stressful and dangerous job.

  • fair_deal

    Bogexile

    “entitled to criminal injury compensation”

    The nature of trauma and the length of time it can take to manifest itself or be diagnosed often means this is not an option as it is too late to make such a claim. Also at the start of the troubles such compensation was derisory – a few hundred quid for a death.

  • simple simon

    Where’s my bit of this big fat pie?
    We all want a bit of that pie, yum, yum – but its reserved for the peelers cos the danger money and the wages and the pension and all I mean, you can hardly buy your own pie with that.
    I wish i’d joined the cops way back then rather than being a kid growing up with all the others in a depressing burnt-car strewn street. Kids never get any pie.

  • jone
  • Sinn Fein has a problem with this. Francie Molloy has been saying that it disregards other victims. There is an anomaly here, that those who have a case against the state can pursue it through the courts, but what do you do if your case is against a paramilitary organisation?
    Many people died on operations they were sent out on. Many died as a consequence of those operations, many of them accidentally. The Anderson Street accident in 1972 killed 8 people, four IRA members transporting a bomb and 4 innocents.
    Dozens of young people died transporting bombs that were either timed too tightly or were unstable for other reasons. The families of those people, even those who accord legitimacy to the IRA (in fact, more so in the case of those who do,) have a claim against an organisation which has no legal standing and which never acknowledges its responsibility other than in the occasional apology.

    I suggest we legalise the paramilitaries today so that they can be sued too.

  • jone

    From the look of the second last par in Coughlin’s judgement it appears this might not be a flood gates opening moment. He seems to suggest that individual claimants might find it tough to prove that they suffered actionable damages because of the failure of the RUC to provide them with particular therapies.

    “Ultimately, it will be for the individual plaintiffs to prove on the balance of probabilities that they would have gained a material improvement in their condition as a result of a particular intervention. Without pre-judging any particular case this may prove to be a formidable task should a substantial number of claimants seek to establish that they would have benefited from receiving one of the psychotherapies, given the evidence relating to resources.”

  • Tiny

    “Ultimately, it will be for the individual plaintiffs to prove on the balance of probabilities that they would have gained a material improvement in their condition as a result of a particular intervention. Without pre-judging any particular case this may prove to be a formidable task should a substantial number of claimants seek to establish that they would have benefited from receiving one of the psychotherapies, given the evidence relating to resources.”

    The winners will be the lawyers, as usual