Catholic widow questions £625,000 award to Bloody Sunday family

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A Lurgan woman whose husband was murdered by the UVF in 1973 has questioned how a Bloody Sunday widow was awarded £625,000 compared to the £6,000 she was given.

Last week the family of Gerard McKinney, a 35-year-old father of eight who was shot dead on Bloody Sunday, was awarded £625,000.

However, the size of the award has caused consternation among many people whose loved ones were killed in the Troubles, but who got paltry sums by comparison.

Speaking on BBC Talkback, ‘Mary from Lurgan’ told how she lost her husband the year after Bloody Sunday.

“I was a 21-year-old Catholic widow who lost a husband of 23, shot dead by the UVF,” she said. “I was awarded £6,000.”

She had two young children at the time but felt she was treated very harshly when she appeared in court and was given the award.

Her father was with her in court and told her he was “just disgusted” with the judge because he “just looked down on me because I was a Catholic widow”.

The judge said to her, she said: “[you are] quite an attractive young lady – get on with your life. Just get up there, out the door and get on with your life.”

She had no legal advice to tell her if she had any right to appeal.

“I want someone to come on [the radio] and tell me how they come to the price of £625,000 can be awarded to a family – no disrespect to the lady – she has waited 46 years to get it,” she said.

She added: “But I just want someone to come on – a victims commissioner or someone – and tell me, how did they come to this price of a life in Northern Ireland?

“We should all have been equally the same. I feel an injustice has been done to me and a lot of other people.”

She said a police widow coming into court after her deserved to be treated the same as her.