The Irish government announced Wednesday it is extending its compensation program for victims of Northern Ireland's four-decade conflict.
Justice Minister Michael McDowell said the government would set aside euro2 million (US$2.6 million) in 2007 for claimants to the 3-year-old program.
The program, due to end in October, has already made payouts of euro5.2 million (US$6.7 million).
McDowell said the government-appointed Remembrance Commission, which grants payments to victims or their survivors of up to euro15,000 (US$19,500) each, received more than 70 applications this year, not all of which had been processed. He said he suspected that dozens more potential claimants were still unaware of the scheme.
"I am also mindful that there are applicants who will require ongoing medical assistance to deal with injuries they received in an incident related to the conflict," McDowell said.
More than 3,600 people were killed and tens of thousands injured during the conflict in Northern Ireland, a predominantly Protestant province created in 1921 shortly before the mostly Catholic rest of Ireland won independence from Britain.
The violence subsided when paramilitary cease-fires took hold in the mid-1990s, although outlawed Protestant groups have refused to disarm and Irish Republican Army dissidents rooted on the Catholic side continue to attempt bomb and gun attacks on shops, police and military targets.
Comparatively few of the killings _ slightly more than 100 _ were committed in the Republic of Ireland. The greatest death toll occurred in May 1974, when four car bombs planted by Protestant extremists killed 33 people on the same day.
Victims or their families are eligible for Irish government payments if they were resident in the Irish Republic at the time of the attack, or for the entire three years prior to their claim. Payments also are made in cases where people fled violence in Northern Ireland and resettled in the republic, and for relatives who want to erect public memorials to their dead.
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