Belfast Telegraph

'There is no excuse for any further stalling' - Sinn Fein tell Bradley abuse victims must be compensated

Sinn Fein’s Michelle O’Neill
Sinn Fein’s Michelle O’Neill

Sinn Fein deputy leader Michelle O'Neill has called on the UK Government to bring forward legislation to compensate victims of historical institutional abuse as soon as possible.

Mrs O'Neill was speaking after a meeting with Secretary of State Karen Bradley on Wednesday.

She was accompanied by MLAs Linda Dillon and Gerry Kelly for the meeting where she told Mrs Bradley that "the foot dragging and prevarication" must end.

Speaking in Parliament last week Mrs Bradley said that she would act "as soon as I can".

She 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.

Sinn Fein's deputy leader said that there can be "no excuse for any further stalling".

“Karen Bradley should now immediately put in place the required legal and financial framework to assist victims and survivors," Mrs O'Neill said.

The Sinn Fein delegation also raised the issue of legacy during their meeting with the Secretary of State.

There have been continued disagreements about the best way of dealing with Northern Ireland's past, with the government launching a consultation into the issue last year.

Mrs O'Neill said that there no amnesty or statute of limitations for British soldiers.

“Full implementation of the legacy mechanisms agreed at Stormont House and the legislation underpinning them are absolutely fundamental in dealing with the legacy of the conflict," she said.

“Any further delays or stalling from the British Government will only serve to undermine public confidence in the consultation, undermine the policy intent of the Stormont House Agreement and more worryingly further disappoint and alienate victims."

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