Belfast Telegraph

NI parties agree joint approach for historical abuse victims compensation

Retired judge Sir Anthony Hart recommended compensation as part of his Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry report (Paul Faith/PA)
Retired judge Sir Anthony Hart recommended compensation as part of his Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry report (Paul Faith/PA)

Northern Ireland's six main political parties have agreed on a joint approach to compensation for victims of historical institutional abuse.

The parties (DUP, Sinn Fein, SDLP, Alliance, UUP and Green Party) met with the Executive Office on Wednesday.

A letter will now be sent to the Northern Ireland Office setting out the position of the parties.

The BBC reports that parties have agreed on changes to the draft legislation to compensate victims.

Sinn Fein MLA Linda Dillon said an agreement was reached to enable victims to "get the redress they are long entitled to".

She said now an agreement has been reached the UK government must "end its stalling".

"Victims have waited too long. Many have died without justice or redress. The scandalous stalling and prevarication by the British Secretary of State Karen Bradley and the NIO must end now," the Mid Ulster MLA said.

“The British government needs to move expeditiously to bring forward legislation and ensure that victims receive the redress they are long entitled to."

Mrs Bradley came under pressure from victims to resign after suggesting the compensation issue should become part of the talks aimed at restoring power-sharing at Stormont.

Mrs Bradley was accused of treating victims like a "political football" after saying that a redress scheme could be up and running within six weeks if power-sharing returns and that it will take much longer to get legislation through Westminster.

In January 2017 an inquiry led by Sir Anthony Hart found widespread and systemic abuse in children's homes across Northern Ireland.

The Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry studied allegations of abuse in 22 homes and other residential institutions between 1922 and 1995.

Sir Anthony recommended a tax-free lump sum payment for all survivors ranging from £7,500 to £100,000.

A public consultation carried out last year has suggested disagreed that the "standard" compensation amount should begin at £7,500, with the majority saying £10,000 would be a more appropriate amount.

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