Peadar Heffron is a Catholic policeman who has worked in Belfast as an Irish language specialist for over 10 years. In January 2010 Mr Heffron was driving to work at Woodburn Police station in west Belfast when a ‘booby-trap’ bomb exploded underneath his car.
As a result of the attack, Mr Heffron lost one of his legs. He has been in a wheelchair ever since.
For the last year, the first stage of Mr Heffron’s compensation claim has been making slow progress. It has recently transpired that he isn’t eligible for any sort of compensation due to the fact that he wasn’t at work, but on his way to work.
Though in some cases this law may be appropriate, in Mr Heffron’s case it is clearly unfair. The only reason he was in the car was because he was on his way to his place of work. To us, there can be no logical reason to deny Mr Heffron at least some form of compensation package.
Frustrating compensation claim verdict
What makes this verdict more frustrating is that the Police disagree with the verdict. According to Police policy, if you are on your way to work you are considered to be ‘on-duty’. Based on this rationale, Mr Heffron should be entitled to compensation on the grounds that it was an accident at work.
The accident has caused significant pain and distress for Mr Heffron and his family. As a result of the accident, his future in the Belfast police force is very unsure. It seems very unfair that someone who has given so much to his local community should be denied the financial help he needs due to a legal technicality.
The court proceedings for Mr Heffron’s compensation claim have been adjourned pending further representation. Let’s hope that a fair solution can be found.