Government rejects payout plan for Ulster bereaved

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The highly contentious idea of offering a sum of money to the families of all those killed in the Northern Ireland Troubles – whether soldier, policeman, civilian or paramilitary – was yesterday rejected by the Government.

The proposal to give £12,000 to all bereaved families caused a furore when it was revealed last month as the centrepiece of a major report into dealing with Northern Ireland's past.

Shaun Woodward, the Northern Ireland Secretary, said the proposal would not be introduced, given a lack of consensus, but that he would continue to study the rest of the report.

The main criticism was that it drew no distinctions between the 3,700 deaths of the Troubles. The question of the "hierarchy of victims" is one of the most controversial issues remaining following the end of the conflict. The general republican view that all should be treated equally is angrily contested by supporters of the security forces.

There were heated scenes at the launch of the report, the work of a committee co-chaired by a former Protestant Archbishop, Lord Eames, and ex-Catholic priest Denis Bradley.