General Election

Chair of abuse inquiry calls on north's politicians to set up compensation scheme

Sir Anthony Hart published his long awaited report of the Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry in January. Picture by Colm Lenaghan, Pacemaker

THE chairman of the Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry has called on the north's political leaders to implement a compensation scheme for victims.

Sir Anthony Hart said he had taken the "highly unusual" step of writing to the politicians asking them to urgently set up the payments.

The inquiry, which found widespread abuse and mistreatment of children in homes run by some churches, charities and the state, published its report in January.

It recommended victims receive compensation of between £7,500 and £100,000.

However, the collapse of power-sharing has meant the report's recommendations have not been advanced.

Sir Anthony said the redress scheme needed to be set up as soon as possible because many victims "are now advancing in years and/or in poor health, and for them the prospect of more delay adds to the burden so many have carried for so long".

He said he was writing to the parties because talks to restore power-sharing have resumed following last week's general election.

"It is in that context and in light of the support given to our recommendations by the then assembly in the debate of 23 January that my inquiry panel colleagues and I feel justified at this time in taking the highly unusual step of writing to the leaders of each of the political parties in the Northern Ireland Assembly," he said.

He said if power-sharing is restored the "inquiry's recommendations should be implemented "as a matter of urgency".

If the parties fail to reach a deal and direct rule is introduced, Sir Anthony asked the leaders to call on Secretary of State James Brokenshire to implement the redress scheme.

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