Northern Ireland news

Victims' group appeals to Boris Johnson over compensation bill

Margaret McGuckin of Survivors and Victims of Institutional Abuse (Savia). File picture by Alan Lewis, Photopress

A GROUP representing victims of institutional abuse has appealed to Prime Minister Boris Johnson to reassure them that a planned compensation bill will pass next week.

The bill to set up a redress scheme for victims is expected to be agreed by parliament just hours before it is dissolved.

It is understood the bill, which has already been heard in the House of Lords, will be debated in the House of Commons on Tuesday.

Time is running out for it to become law before parliament is dissolved on Wednesday ahead of the snap December 12 election.

Margaret McGuckin, of Survivors and Victims of Institutional Abuse (Savia), has written to Mr Johnson asking him to meet the group's representatives in London on Tuesday.

The group plans to travel to Westminster in anticipation of the bill being passed.

"We hope that you can give us reassurance in advance of this to confirm that you will see this through, as the longer this issue is played out, the more hurt and pain that victims and survivors are having to endure. This is not politics to us; it is real life," the letter read.

"We hope that you will meet us face to face to give us the reassurance that we so desperately need."

Earlier this week, there were fears that the bill would not be passed ahead of the dissolution of parliament.

But an intervention by former secretary of state, Labour peer Lord Hain, helped push it through the Lords on Thursday evening.

It is almost three years since the Historical Institutional Abuse (HIA) inquiry exposed serious sexual, physical and emotional abuse over decades at children's homes run by religious orders, charities and the state across Northern Ireland.

A case brought by an institutional abuse victim over the failure to implement the recommendations of the HIA inquiry will be heard in the Court of Appeal on Monday morning.

The victim has instructed solicitor Claire McKeegan, of Phoenix Law, to act on their behalf.

The appeal argues that rules giving more power to the Northern Ireland Civil Service are unlawful.

The rules were introduced by former secretary of state Karen Bradley last year.

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