Northern Ireland news

Secretary of state urged to speed up legislation for historical institutional abuse payments

Andrew Murrison said legislation that would enable historical abuse compensation payments to be made must be brought through Westminster as soon as possible. Picture by Stephen Davison

THE chairman of Westminster's Northern Ireland Affairs Committee has called on the secretary of state to sign off legislation that would release compensation for victims of historical institutional abuse.

Payments of around £18,500 which were recommended by the Historical Institutional Abuse (HIA) inquiry in 2017 have been held up by Stormont's suspension.

Tory MP Andrew Murrison said legislation that would enable payments to be made must be brought through Westminster "as soon as possible".

He urged his Conservative colleague Karen Bradley to "grip this now" and prevent "further painful delay" for victims.

"The inability to implement the recommendations of the Hart report, despite the gravity of the issues it deals with, is a reminder to us all that restoration of the Northern Ireland Executive is essential to ensure justice, progress and protection for the people of Northern Ireland," his letter to Mrs Bradley said.

Mr Murrison also urged the secretary of state to seek a meeting with the chair of HIA inquiry Sir Anthony Hart.

Stormont's Executive Office published three pieces of proposed legislation designed to deal with outstanding issues around historical institutional abuse in November.

Civil service head David Sterling said at the time that Mrs Bradley had a "moral responsibility" to take action on the issue if devolution had not been restored by the end of the consultation process, which closed on March 10.

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