Northern Ireland news

Abuse compensation may take months to reach MPs due to summer break

Victims' campaigner Margaret McGuckin. Picture by Ronan McGrade, Pacemaker

LEGISLATION to compensate victims of historical abuse is unlikely to go to Parliament before the autumn, an MP has said.

Conservative MP Simon Hoare, chair of the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee at Westminster, met victims on Friday.

He said he wants the issue "sorted" but it may be months before it reaches MPs given Parliament's summer recess.

Payments to victims were recommended by the Historical Institutional Abuse (HIA) Inquiry in 2017 but the process stalled when devolution collapsed.

The new advocate for victims of institutional abuse in Northern Ireland has also said he does not expect legislation for compensation payments to be finalised by September.

Brendan McAllister told BBC NI's Sunday News programme he was preparing to press the secretary of state, Northern Ireland Office, Executive Office and political parties.

"We are dealing with vulnerable people who are needing to find the building blocks to deliver closure - and it is slightly cat and mouse to be delaying this any longer than it need to be," he said.

Campaigner Margaret McGuckin, from victims' group Savia, said she was incredibly disappointed by the prospect of a further delay.

"Every day is like a year to our people, never mind September or October," she said.

She said other pieces of legislation relating to Northern Ireland had been fast-tracked through Parliament, and that the least MPs could do was to push HIA redress through now.

The Northern Ireland Office (NIO) has said it wants the issue to be dealt with as quickly as possible, to provide victims with redress and further support.

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