Victims of Gadaffi’s arms imports to the IRA shouldn’t get their hopes up

This is one of the most acute problems of Northern Ireland today- politicians raising hopes for victims that stand little or no chance of being fulfilled. As an anti-cynic I’m prepared to believe that David Cameron’s meeting with a DUP delegation over reviving compensation claims against Libya disclosed in the Sunday Telegraph wasn’t just a clumsy diversion effort from the Adams arrest (wrong constituency and timing ).At least it got Peter Robinson into Downing St, a rare occurrence these days.   It reads like one of these diplomatic moves that keeps a topic on the table for principled reasons rather than having any real hope of delivery. But hands up those who thinks Libya which is a country which in near chaos and lacks a functioning government is about to hand over millions in compensation to victims of IRA violence however well deserved? Any ideas for a cringe- making balancing move for republicans?

There is a political agenda here in the story of victims prepared to sue Tony Blair for allegedly dissociating the UK from efforts to secure Libyan compensation for them in order to make peace with Gadaffi. This could extend smoothly into Blair’s “peace” strategy In Northern Ireland and would be another exercise in futility. Tony Blair’s office rejected the charge in today’s Sunday Telegraph story.

Former BBC journalist and manager in Belfast, Manchester and London, Editor Spolight; Political Editor BBC NI; Current Affairs Commissioning editor BBC Radio 4; Editor Political and Parliamentary Programmes, BBC Westminster; former London Editor Belfast Telegraph. Hon Senior Research Fellow, The Constitution Unit, Univ Coll. London