Funding for victims in North branded 'paltry'

Christmas funding for conflict victims in the North will only help 6% of those suffering, it was claimed today.

The Wave trauma centre branded it a paltry commitment which did not address the true scale of long-term need.

Last week the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister (OFMDFM) said over 5,000 individuals and families would benefit from a £1.8m (€2m) funding package.

A spokesman for Wave said: "It seems to us that our political leaders have exploited the Christmas season and played politics with our suffering once again."

He asked how the 5,000 people would be selected out of a total population of 78,500.

"If this is the scale of their commitment, if this is the best they can do in this season of goodwill, never mind at any other time of year, then shame on them."

Wave has launched a recognition for all injured campaign. It is a grassroots, cross-community voluntary organisation formed in 1991 to support people bereaved of a spouse because of violence in the North.

The spokesman said there were concerns that the money would go to those who had already received funding rather than the large number of people who did not belong to victims' groups and have never received help.

He said: "The announcement is timed just before Christmas and is framed as generous, charitable even.

"We hold that there is a moral responsibility to support those of us who have been harmed by a societal conflict."

He added the £500 (€559.54) towards the cost of respite breaks meant participants had to meet quite a lot of the costs themselves.

"At this most expensive time of the year, and a time when families typically want to be together rather than apart, we question whether this provision at this time is really based on the needs of victims, or on some other imperative," he said.

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