Victims pledge support for Brendan McAllister
A campaigner for survivors of historical child abuse has pledged support to a victims' advocate, after concerns were raised when it was announced he was to be ordained within the Catholic Church.
Brendan McAllister, the Interim Advocate for Victims and Survivors of Historical Institutional Abuse, is to be ordained as a deacon within the church.
A former Victims' Commissioner he took up the role on August 12 after being appointed in July by head of the civil service David Sterling.
Mr Sterling said at the time that it was a "hugely significant" appointment and the fulfilment of a commitment he gave to victims and survivors to provide "a strong independent voice to support and advocate on their behalf".
However, some of those who suffered clerical abuse threatened legal action claiming his close connection with the Catholic church could be viewed as a conflict.
Survivors Together spokesman Marty Adams said last night the majority of victims want Mr McAllister to continue in his role in order to get the redress process completed without further delay.
"Brendan has entered the campaign at a late stage but has been very active with victims and government.
"To call for a man to resign because of his Catholic religion/faith is totally unacceptable.
"Any man or woman is entitled to practice their faith or belong to a church/chapel and not be penalised.
"I'm a Protestant victim and other groups I work with are Catholic victims and we do not tolerate any sectarianism because we are all victims.
"I'm fully aware that some victims have received compensation but the majority of victims have not got a penny, the perpetrators and institutions have been given every opportunity to apologise but still have decided not to.
"It's now time victims of historical abuse got the compensation they rightfully deserve without further delay.
"I have told the Secretary of State (Julian Smith) that the commissioner should remain in place until this is resolved or we could set ourselves back at a time when we don't need any further set backs", Mr Adams said.