§ Mr. Mallon
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland in how many instances ex-gratia payments have been made in response to claims for compensation as a result of security force operations or installations; and what were the criteria on which these payments were made.
§ Dr. Mawhinney
Ex-gratia compensation is paid by the Police Authority for Northern Ireland where property was damaged in the course of action by Army technical officers to clear suspect explosive devices. The criteria for making such payments are:—
- (i) that the RUC gave instructions for the ATO's action;
- (ii) that the RUC are satisfied that the claimant was not criminally involved in the incident;
- (iii) that there were no explosives found in the vehicle or property.
Payments have been made under this scheme since 1982. In the 1989–90 financial year compensation was paid in 148 cases and in this financial year to 31 December 1990 compensation has been paid in 108 cases. Ex-gratia payments made by the Ministry of Defence are a matter for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence.