Northern Ireland news

Sinn Féin and DUP urge Treasury to fund Troubles victims' pensions

Sinn Féin's Gerry Kelly

STORMONT'S two largest parties say the UK Treasury should fund pension-like payments to victims of the Troubles.

Laws were passed at Westminster last year to provide a new compensation scheme.

This will be administered by Stormont.

First Minister and DUP leader Arlene Foster has told an assembly committee that this could cost up to £60 million and that the north's budget could not fund it.

Last week, a senior civil servant said the figure would be even higher - as much as £100m.

Sinn Féin assembly member Gerry Kelly has now said the UK government "has to deal with it".

"There's people been waiting for this pension for a considerable period of time," he told the BBC's Sunday Politics.

"The political decision has been made to give a pension, we need to move on that basis. So they can't now say, 'we've made this decision, but now it's going to cost too much'."

DUP MP Sir Jeffrey Donaldson said he hoped the executive would make the case at Westminster for the funding.

"The events that gave rise to the pensions that will be paid to innocent victims happened during a time of direct rule," he said.

"I think it would be wrong to put paying that compensation on the Northern Ireland Executive."

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