Belfast Telegraph

Opposition demands ministers act despite Executive's collapse

By Noel McAdam

Stormont's opposition parties have urged ministers to take action on the historical abuse report due to be debated in the Assembly next week.

UUP leader Mike Nesbitt said: "Redress for victims of historical institutional abuse should not be frustrated because the Executive can't get its act together.

"Ministers will stay in place until polling day, and I call on them to do whatever it takes to action the recommendations from Sir Anthony Hart.

"The fact that after a lifetime of waiting for an official acknowledgment of their suffering... to find it is there but they can't access it is simply obscene."

SDLP leader Colum Eastwood added: "Redress for the victims and survivors is long overdue.

"The non-Executive parties will jointly bring a motion to the Assembly next week to ensure that this important issue is not buried or delayed by the rapidly changing political situation."

The Executive Office said it hoped the report would go before the Executive "at the earliest opportunity".

Health Minister Michelle O'Neill stressed that her department had admitted systemic failures of predecessor bodies, and Justice Minister Claire Sugden indicated that any lessons learned would be acted upon.

DUP MLA Christopher Stalford said: "The scale of the failure to protect our most vulnerable children is astonishing - a complete failure by the Ministry for Home Affairs, the DHSS and our criminal justice system (which is) truly shocking and devastating."

Sinn Fein MLA Linda Dillon added: "We now need to see the full implementation of all the recommendations of the panel soon. The PSNI now has a responsibility to thoroughly investigate all allegations."

But Alliance MLA Chris Lyttle warned: "It is extremely disappointing that the collapse of the Executive and election means any redress, whether financial or otherwise, will not be started in the immediate future.

"Victims and survivors will not receive the full justice they deserve."

Belfast Telegraph


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