Northern Ireland news

Abuse survivors gather to protest at royal garden party venue

Shadow Secretary of State Stephen Pound pledges to help victims of institutional abuse as they protest outside a garden party hosted by Karen Bradley in Co Fermanagh. Picture by Alan Lewis/Photopress

ABUSE survivors picketing a garden party hosted by Secretary of State Karen Bradley for the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall attempted to peacefully enter the National Trust venue.

They gathered outside Castle Coole on the outskirts of Enniskillen in Co Fermanagh with a banner urging redress for child victims of abuse in residential homes overseen by the state.

It follows bitter disappointment at further delays to compensation recommended more than two years ago following a public inquiry.

Retired judge Sir Anthony Hart recommended payments of up to £10,000 but the collapse of Stormont meant nothing happened.

Read More: Institutional abuse survivors accuse Karen Bradley of 'failing' them

Victims met Mrs Bradley at Stormont on Monday after she revealed extra questions have been asked of politicians before Westminster legislation can be drawn up.

SAVIA supporters try to grab the attention of the Royals as they arrive at Castlecoole. Picture by Alan Lewis/Photopress

They were also told the process could take up two years.

Shadow Secretary of State Stephen Pound MP broke off from the garden party yesterday to promise the protesters that he will be bringing the matter up in parliament next week to ensure the necessary legislation is enacted.

Kate Walmsley, who was subjected to abuse at a home run by the Sisters of Nazareth nuns in Derry, said she was annoyed with Ms Bradley because a signal was being given "to the world that it is okay to sexually abuse children because nobody does nothing about it".

"You won't get justice anyway so don't bother and I think it is very sad that she would do that," she said.

Alan Lewis- 21-5-2019.SAVIA supporters wait outside Castlecoole for the Royals to arrive..Shadow Northern Ireland Secretary of State Stephen Pound MP left the Royal Garden Party to pledge to help victims of Historical Institutional Abuse Survivors Group SAVIA in their quest for redress as they protest outside this afternoon's Royal Garden Party at Castlecoole in Enniskillen, County Fermanagh. He broke off from the Garden Party to promise them that he will be bringing the matter up in parliament next week to ensure the necessary legislation is enacted..The event was being attended by NI Sec of State Karen Bradley whom SAVIA have branded "Heartless" after her stalling of efforts by local politicians to enact legislation to facilitate the payments to survivors that were recommended two years ago by a public inquiry report..

"The only thing I want compensation for is I want to buy a grave."

Six Stormont parties met on Monday to address key questions about the redress process and agreed to send a joint letter to Ms Bradley with answers.

Newton Emerson: Abuse victims being used as political pawns

However, shortly before the secretary of state met victims, she said she wanted the parties to answer a further 11 questions.

Margaret McGuckin, founding member of the Survivors and Victims of Institutional Abuse (Savia) support group, claimed Mrs Bradley had passed the buck for the delay to compensation and blamed the civil service.

Protest at the entrance to Castlecoole in Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, where a Royal garden party was being held attended by Prince Charles and Karen Bradley. Picture by Alan Lewis/Photopress

"Many of our people are at death's door and so many have passed away. Thirty people have died in this past two-and-a-half years.

"We wished we had never started this, this is 11 years of campaigning, two and a half years after the Hart inquiry findings where we were vindicated.

Read More: Karen Bradley 'should resign' over failure to deliver compensation for abuse victims

"It has all fallen flat, nobody is getting anything, no support, we are all supporting each other and it is a disgrace on this government that they are not doing anything."

Shadow Secretary of State Stephen Pound MP left the Royal garden party pledging to help victims of Historical Institutional Abuse Survivors Group SAVIA in their quest for redress. Picture by Alan Lewis/Photopress

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