Belfast Telegraph

Watch: Abuse victims picket Karen Bradley's Enniskillen garden party

Andrew Madden

By Andrew Madden

Victims of historical abuse in Northern Ireland have gathered to protest against Karen Bradley's handling of a compensation scheme for survivors.

On Monday, the Northern Ireland Secretary met with politicians and victims and tabled 11 questions about the scheme that need to be answered before it can be progressed.

Victims slammed the move, accusing Ms Bradley of "emotional blackmail" after she told them legislation could not be fast-tracked through Parliament - but the scheme could up and running in six weeks if power-sharing was restored.

On Tuesday afternoon, more than a dozen victims gathered outside Castle Coole in Enniskillen, where the Secretary of State is holding the annual garden party, to demand redress.

Some of the group had met Ms Bradley on Monday at Stormont for talks on the issue, including Kate Walmsley, who says she was subjected to abuse at a home run by the Sisters of Nazareth nuns in Londonderry.

After being turned away by a polite police officer at the gates, Ms Walmsley said: "I am just annoyed with Karen Bradley that she has given out the wrong signals.

"You won't get justice anyway so don't bother and I think it is very sad that she would do that."

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Members and supporters of the Redress For Victims group were protesting at the Garden Party at Castlecoole. Picture: Ronan McGrade Pacemaker

She described her plans for any compensation, saying she would buy a burial plot next to fellow protester Margaret McGuickin.

"The only thing I want compensation for is I want to buy a grave. I want to buy a grave that I can be buried next to my friend Margaret McGuckin," she said.

"Her boys and my two boys, they would be able to meet each other and they would be able to look after our graves."

Ms McGuckin claimed the Northern Ireland Secretary had passed the buck for the delay in compensation and blamed the civil service.

"Many of our people are at death's door and so many have passed away. Thirty people have died in this past two-and-a-half years," she said.

"We wished we had never started this, this is 11 years of campaigning, two-and-a-half years after the Hart Inquiry findings where we were vindicated.

"It has all fell flat, nobody is getting anything, no support, we are all supporting each other and it is a disgrace on this Government that they are not doing anything."

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