The East Belfast MLA was speaking after the publication of a report by the Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry, which detailed systematic abuse at 22 homes. Recommendations include a tax-free lump sum payment to survivors or their descendants, a memorial at Stormont and the establishment of a commissioner for survivors of institutional abuse.
“My thoughts are with the victims and survivors today,” he said.
“Their dignified and courageous campaign for truth has been vindicated and it is now incumbent on those in authority to deliver the apology, support services and redress they need and deserve.
“It was incredibly disturbing to hear the extent of the physical, sexual and emotional abuse perpetuated on these children over many decades, and the failure to act by state and religious agencies that allowed further abuse to occur.
“Victims and survivors are the most important part of this process and they should be the priority throughout. It is therefore extremely disappointing the collapse of the Executive and the forthcoming election means any redress procedure, whether financial or otherwise, will not be started in the immediate future. Without that process, victims and survivors will not receive the full justice they deserve.”