MLA backs officer’s compensation bid

A BID by an injured police officer to have his appeal to overturn the decision not to award him compensation has been backed by a local MLA.

Ulster Unionist MLA John McCallister expressed his shock and disgust at the news that the first stage of Constable Peader Heffron’s compensation bid had failed on the basis that he was not considered to have been on duty.

Constable Heffron, who had served with the police for 10 years, had his leg amputated after a bomb exploded underneath his car in Randalstown in January 2010.

As reported by the Detail, the case has now been adjourned for further legal representations.

Speaking on the issue, Mr McCallister said, “The decision to turn down Peadar Heffron’s claim for industrial injury compensation sends out a negative message to PSNI officers. In Northern Ireland our police officers lives are under constant threat, so it is remarkable that the criteria for compensation does not take this into account.

“It is insulting to Mr Heffron that he should be turned down on the technicality of whether he was actually on duty or not as he was making his way to work on that morning.

“He was targeted by dissident republicans because he was a PSNI officer, regardless of whether he was considered to be on duty or not. The nature of a police officer’s job is around the clock and the Ulster Unionist Party would support Mr Heffron’s position that he was on duty on the morning he was targeted.

“Sadly in the last few years dissident republicans have targeted a number of officers. It is vital that PSNI officers and their families have reassurance that should they be injured, indeed in Peadar’s case to the degree were he may have to retire, that they will be entitled to adequate support to meet their needs.”