UDA victim 'insulted' by offer of £500

Barry McCaffrey
17 July 2004
Irish News

• flashbacks: Jason O'Halloran, who survived a UDA gun attack two
years ago, is still traumatised by his memories of the event

A Belfast man shot three times and seriously injured by UDA gunmen
two years ago has branded a Compensations Agency offer of £487 for
his injuries as an "insult".

Ardoyne man Jason O'Halloran (31), was shot three times by armed UDA
members in a drive-by shooting as he stood on the corner of Rosapenna
Street/Oldpark Road in north Belfast on July 21 2002.

The 31-year-old was hit in both legs and the groin after loyalist
gunmen opened fire from a passing Mondeo car. A further 10 shots were
fired at him as he lay injured on the ground.

Less than half-an-hour after the shooting the UDA murdered Catholic
teenager Gerard Lawlor three miles away near his home on the
Whitewell Road.

Mr O'Halloran was rushed to hospital and spent a number of days in
intensive care. Since the incident he has not been able to work.

However, he says he is outraged that the Compensation Agency this
week offered him just £487.50 for the injuries he suffered in the

"I cannot believe they are telling me my life is worth less than
£500," the unemployed taxi driver said.

"The doctors told me it was a miracle that none of the bullets
ruptured any vital organs. I am still waking up with flashbacks even

"I could have been killed that night and poor Gerard Lawlor was
murdered soon after me.

"Do these people think that you get shot and a couple of days later
you can forget about it?"

He said that the issue was not about money, adding: "I don't care
about the money. What I do care about is the fact that I nearly died
and some faceless bureaucrat is saying that my life is worth less
than a cheap car."

Mr O'Halloran claimed that the Compensations Agency pointed to the
fact that he had previously been fined for a number of minor traffic
offences to reduce the offer made to him.

"The Compensations Agency reduced the money offered to me by 75%
because I had six traffic fines. Every one of those fines were minor
and were paid.

"Is the Compensation Agency saying that the life of someone fined for
driving offences is worth less than £500?"

A Compensations Agency spokes-man said it did not comment on
individual cases. He said that anyone who was unhappy with the
compensation offered to them had 90 days in which to appeal.

In 1972 Mr O'Halloran's mother was also shot by loyalists in a
sectarian attack on the Oldpark Road, while his father lost an eye in
a loyalist bomb attack in 1974.

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