Alliance MLA Paula Bradshaw has said the political vacuum is negatively impacting upon victims, after the head of the Civil Service confirmed draft legislation for compensation for survivors of institutional abuse has been completed.
The Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry concluded there should be a public apology to those who suffered physical, emotional and sexual abuse between 1922 to 1995, and compensation ranging from £7,500 to £100,000.
“It has long since gone time progress is made in advancing the recommendations of the Inquiry report. The victims and survivors have waited far too long for justice and redress – during this wait many of them have unfortunately passed away, one just this last weekend,” said Ms Bradshaw.
“It is shameful the lack of an Executive has prevented the recommendations being implemented. We knew as far back as May 2016 the Inquiry Chairman was going to recommend a redress scheme in his report, as the Expert Panel held a meeting in Parliament Buildings to report and discuss this.
“Therefore, those political parties responsible for the Executive Office should have instructed officials to start exploring how this could be delivered. It was stated at the time they were waiting on receipt of the final report. What a shameful decision that was.
“The priority now is to ensure the consultation process begins on time, consultees are given support to respond, and the Executive Office is in a position to move with taking forward the legislation when the Assembly is restored.
“Alliance’s work with a Lib Dem peer to have an amendment adopted into the Northern Ireland Bill last week in the House of Lords was knocked back as the Secretary of State did not want anything included in the Bill that resembled Direct Rule. Therefore, she must greatly increase her efforts to get our Assembly back up and running without further delay. This political vacuum is negatively impacting upon victims, such as those who survived the institutional abuse.”