Maguire faces appeal over pounds 13,500 award

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The Independent Online
DAVID MCKITTRICK

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.

tTripping claims cost the Northern Ireland authorities in excess of pounds 6m a year.

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