Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland parties draft response to Secretary of State on historical abuse - report

The Historical Institutional Abuse (HIA) Inquiry concluded there should be compensation ranging from £7,500 to £100,000.
The Historical Institutional Abuse (HIA) Inquiry concluded there should be compensation ranging from £7,500 to £100,000.

Northern Ireland's political leaders have drafted their response to the Secretary of State in order for her to progress legislation for a historical abuse redress scheme.

The BBC reports the parties have drafted a letter saying victims of historical institutional abuse should receive £10,000 instead of the proposed £7,500. That relatives of those deceased should received 100% of an award for compensation.

And an application for those deceased should be dated 1953 as opposed to 2011. The letter is expected to be approved by the parties and then sent to Karen Bradley.

Last month the secretary of state caused consternation when she included the matter in the talks process, something pressure groups said was an attempt to "blackmail" the parties to return to Stormont, something Mrs Bradley rejected.

She then caused further anger when, after the parties had given their response, she returned with more questions.

In January 2017 - just after the collapse of the Stormont - an inquiry led by Sir Anthony Hart found widespread and systemic abuse in children’s homes across Northern Ireland. He recommended a tax-free lump sum payment for all survivors ranging from £7,500 to £100,000. He also recommended a public apology should be made.

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

These were facilities run by the state, local authorities, the Catholic Church, the Church of Ireland and the children’s charity Barnardo’s. The largest number of complaints related to four Catholic-run homes.

Sir Anthony's recommendations were stymied by the absence of devolved government with successive secretaries of state resisting calls to step in saying it was a matter for the Executive.

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