Government lawyers were last night considering legal moves to overturn the pounds 13,500 compensation award to the convicted IRA terrorist Donna Maguire for an ankle injury.
A political and media storm over the award erupted yesterday. Conservative and Ulster Unionist MPs said the award by a Belfast judge had resulted in a convicted IRA terrorist receiving more for an ankle injury than had the relatives of some of those killed by the IRA.
Colin Parry, who received pounds 7,500 after his 12-year-old son Tim was killed in the 1993 Warrington bombing, called for a review of the compensation system. He said: "It's a kick in the teeth. Every time these judgments come along, it reminds us how little society appears to value a child's life."
Maguire was convicted in 1995 by a German court of the attempted murder of British soldiers in an IRA attack.
She was given a nine-year jail sentence, but was immediately released by a German judge because she had been held in prison for six years while awaiting trial on a number of charges, including murder, in Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany.
Photographs showing Mag-uire as a dark attractive woman have led to a flood of publicity concentrating on her over the years, in effect turning her into something of a national figure and a symbol of republicanism. She has attracted headlines such as "IRA's top gun girl".
The compensation award arose from a 1985 incident in Maguire's home town of Newry, Co Down, in which she said she fell after her foot was trapped in a broken paving stone. She told the court: "I have had to give up dancing, jogging and swimming because the ankle swells up. I can't wear high heels and the the ankle is not very stable when I walk on rough ground or gravel." Her ankle is said to be scarred and swollen.
The Tory MP David Wilshire described the award as shocking and obscene and called for a change in the law. The Ulster Unionist MP Ken Maginnis said it was a disgrace.
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