Libya violence halts visit by delegation of Irish and British victims

Sunday 17 August 2014 13.31
Former Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi gave semtex explosives, guns and cash to the IRA
Former Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi gave semtex explosives, guns and cash to the IRA

A group of Irish and British victims of Gaddafi-backed IRA bombing attacks have been forced to call off a planned delegation to Libya due to the worsening security situation there, RTÉ News has learned.

The group was due to travel to Tripoli to meet members of the government, but were warned against travelling by the British Foreign Office.

One of the organisers of the delegation, Irish citizen Jon Ganesh, told RTÉ's This Week that the delegation was put on hold at the last minute.

It came after intense fighting broke out between rebel groups, government forces and other groups in Libya late last month.

Mr Ganesh was injured in an IRA bomb in London's docklands in February 1996.

The group are seeking compensation and other financial supports arising from their injuries and the deaths of family members over two decades - when former Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi gave semtex explosives, guns and cash to the IRA.

The former dictator agreed to pay hundreds of millions of dollars in compensation to US victims injured in semtex bombings.

However, Irish and British victims failed to secure any deal before Gaddafi was ousted from power in 2011.

Meanwhile, another member of the group, Willie Frazer, who represents mostly unionist victims in Northern Ireland, said they had received an offer of help from a former senior intelligence officer who worked for Gaddafi.

The man was closely linked to the deals between the IRA and the dictator's regime.

The man is currently in a prison in Libya where he is awaiting trial relating to his association with the former regime.

Mr Frazer told RTÉ's This Week that the man has offered to supply them with information on the IRA's connection to Gaddafi, including the names of key republican figures who met with Gaddafi; and the bank account details into which Gaddafi put money for the IRA's use.

A spokesman for the British Foreign Office said that they were assisting the victims but that the deteriorating situation in Libya has made the challenge even greater.

Keywords: gaddafi, libya