Published Monday, 02 July 2012
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There has been widespread condemnation after it emerged that the Catholic officer, who lost his leg in a dissident blast, was refused a social security payment.
The ruling made by the Industrial Injury Tribunal centres on whether Mr Heffron had been on duty at the time of the attack in January 2010.
He was on his way to work when the bomb blew up under his car, not far from his home in Randalstown, Co Antrim.
Nelson McCausland said it is "patently clear" why Constable Heffron was targeted and that it is society's duty to care for people in his position.
"I am aware of this case and I am awaiting the Social Security Commissioner's judgement on the matter," the DUP minister said.
"It is patently clear why Constable Peadar Heffron was targeted."
It is the duty of a society to care for our police officers injured through their public service. If current legislation cannot meet this need then it must be reviewed.
The 35-year-old Constable was apparently targeted in a bid to deter support for the cross-community PSNI.
He was a Gaelic footballer with the force and operated as an Irish language specialist.
In a statement, Police Chief Constable Matt Baggott said he supports the view that the journey to and from work counts as being on duty.
He said: "This is a private matter for Constable Heffron and it is not appropriate for us to comment at this time however the Chief Constable supports the position that travelling to and from work constitutes being on duty."
Terry Spence, chairman of the Police Federation - which represents rank and file officers - said he wrote to the DSD to ask for an explanation over the ruling.
He has spoken to Mr Heffron and said: "What signal does this send out to officers in the PSNI (Police Service of Northern Ireland), who put their lives at risk every day?"
The Policing Board is also supportive of the position that the Constable was on duty.
A statement said: "Board Members are concerned about this case and the implications it has for officers who are injured as a result of their employment.
"Members are supportive of the Chief Constable's position that officers travelling to and from work constitutes being on duty and will be discussing this issue with the Chief Constable at the monthly meeting on Thursday (5 July)."
Meanwhile there has been cross-party support for Mr Heffron in his bid to overturn the ruling.
Sinn Féin MLA Gerry Kelly said: "Peadar Heffron should receive compensation as he was attacked because of the job he does.
"Refusing compensation on the basis of whether he was on duty or not is totally wrong. He was targeted in the first place was because of his job."
Ross Hussey of the UUP said: "The decision to turn down Peadar Heffron's claim for industrial injury compensation sends out a negative message to PSNI officers.
"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."
Paul Givan of the DUP said: "It is abundantly clear that Constable Peadar Heffron was targeted by dissident republicans specifically because of his career choice.
"Const Heffron deserves to receive the compensation which everyone would agree he is entitled. The appeal to the initial decision currently rests with the Social Security Commissioners, but I welcome the assurance from the Social Development Minister that if current legislation does not meet the need then he will intervene to ensure it is reviewed."