Northern Ireland abuse victims take compensation battle to Parliament
Victims of institutional abuse are set to take their campaign for compensation to Westminster today.
As Secretary of State James Brokenshire prepares to announce details of the Northern Ireland budget, Survivors and Victims of Institutional Abuse (SAVIA) will press for the release of an interim compensation payment to the 524 individuals who gave evidence to a public enquiry led by Sir Anthony Hart.
Sir Anthony's final report was published in January 2017, just before the Assembly collapsed, and recommended redress. However, in the absence of an Executive, there has since been no way to take recommendations forward.
In July of this year a letter was sent to the head of the Civil Service, which was signed by five party leaders, calling for him to commence proceedings to put in place a redress scheme. Since then neither the Secretary of State nor the head of the Civil Service have taken any steps to move the process on.
However, with a budget to be delivered today, SAVIA is urging Mr Brokenshire to include an interim payment to victims and survivors in advance of compensation, which will require legislation. SAVIA spokeswoman Margaret McGuckin said that survivors had waited too long already for the Secretary of State to put in place the necessary steps which were recommended in Sir Anthony's report.
"How many more victims must die before they are even 'considered' or thought about?" she asked. "We cannot afford to wait for political solutions to a wider problem, and we know that decisions can be taken to initiate compensation - and so we are urging those with the power to act so that we are not revictimised through a wider political problem."