Belfast Telegraph

Brendan McAllister appointed advocate for institutional abuse victims

Brendan McAllister is the new Interim Advocate for Victims and Survivors of Historical Institutional Abuse
Brendan McAllister is the new Interim Advocate for Victims and Survivors of Historical Institutional Abuse

The former victims' commissioner Brendan McAllister has been appointed as the new interim advocate for victims of institutional abuse.

He was appointed to the role on Tuesday by the Head of the Civil Service, David Sterling.

“I am very much looking forward to meeting with as many victims and survivors as possible, and learning more of the issues they have faced and continue to face," said Mr McAllister.

“There is much work to be done and I don’t underestimate the challenges that lie ahead but I am absolutely committed to being a strong, dedicated and supportive voice for all.”

Brendan McAllister was one of four commissioners who advised the power-sharing executive in relation to Troubles' victims and survivors between 2008 and 2012.

David Sterling said the appointment will be welcomed.

"I’ve met many times with victims and survivors, listened to their stories and heard about the hurt and suffering they have and continue to endure," he said.

"I have given them a commitment that as a civil service we will do everything we can in the current climate to support them, and this appointment is part of that commitment.

“I have no doubt that Brendan’s appointment will ensure that the views of victims and survivors will be kept front and centre in all future discussions, particularly with regard to the progression of current legislative proposals.”

A former social worker, Mr McAllister was previously the Director of Mediation Northern Ireland and has worked in a mediation role for the United Nations.

Speaking in 2016, he said one of the challenges Northern Ireland faces around the issue of reconciliation is that people are tired from the Troubles.

"The whole area of peace and reconciliation can seem like inviting people into darkness again when a lot of people feel they've had enough of conflict and want to move on," he said.

"By reconciliation I don't mean asking people to forgive. I don't mean people living in harmony with those who have hurt them.

"I mean enabling us as a society to come more to terms with all that has happened."

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