Unionists protest payments for victims

Jan. 28, 2009 at 3:10 PM

BELFAST, Northern Ireland, Jan. 28 (UPI) -- Recalcitrant unionists demonstrated Wednesday against a report recommending one-time payments to victims of sectarian violence in Northern Ireland.

The report from the Consultative Group on the Past was released at a meeting at the Europa Hotel in Belfast, The Times of London reported. The group recommended payments of 12,000 pounds ($18,000).

Cedric Wilson, a former member of the Northern Ireland Assembly, led the protesters. He turned on Gerry Adams, the longtime leader of the Sinn Fein Party who is now a member of the British Parliament.

"This is the man who was in charge of the IRA on the day of Bloody Friday," Wilson yelled.

When Adams, a few inches away, told Wilson to give him a "break," Wilson shouted, "No more breaks for you, Gerry."

The report urged a five-year intensive investigation into violence during three decades of political violence known as the Troubles. Authorities would then draw a line, with no further investigation.

The payments are controversial because they would go to the families of everyone killed during the era, whether they were bystanders or members of paramilitary groups killed by police or soldiers.

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