Northern Ireland news

MPs urged to support motion for abuse victims' compensation scheme

Margaret McGuckin from Savia at a protest by clerical abuse campaigners in Belfast last year. Picture by Colm Lenaghan, Pacemaker

A MOTION urging compensation for victims of institutional abuse in Northern Ireland has been submitted to the House of Commons.

A cross-party group of MPs have already signed the motion calling on the British government to set up a redress scheme.

The Historical Institutional Abuse (HIA) Inquiry recommended compensation payments to victims and survivors more than two years ago but the process stalled due to the impasse at Stormont.

Victims and the north's main parties have urged Secretary of State Karen Bradley to pass legislation through Westminster as quickly as possible.

The early day motion, submitted by Tory MP Maria Caulfield, states: "That this House agrees with the recommendations of the Hart Inquiry into Historical Institutional Abuse in Northern Ireland; and calls on the government to bring forward legislative proposals to implement those recommendations."

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Early Day Motions are often used to raise the profile of certain campaigns.

They can also show the level of support in parliament for a particular issue.

By yesterday evening, the motion had been sponsored by several MPs including Ms Caulfield, Labour's Kate Hoey and Paul Farrelly and the DUP's Jim Shannon and Gregory Campbell.

Campaign group Survivors and Victims of Institutional Abuse (Savia) has contacted senior MPs asking them to support the motion.

Spokeswoman Margaret McGuckin said all MPs needed to be made aware of the plight of victims.

"There were some people who weren't aware of it so we're trying to change that," she said.

"We're getting messages of support, even during this leadership contest."

The Historical Institutional Abuse (HIA) Inquiry recommended compensation payments to victims more than two years ago. Picture by Colm Lenaghan, Pacemaker Press

Sinn Féin MPs support the redress campaign but have told Ms McGuckin they cannot sign the motion due to the party's abstentionist policy.

"We have repeatedly called on the British government to act as a matter of urgency and legislate for victims and survivors," Sinn Féin MP Mickey Brady told Savia.

North Down Independent MP Sylvia Hermon has also agreed to support the campaign.

Ms McGuckin said the Ulster Unionists had also promised to lobby MPs and members of the House of Lords.

"This is being highlighted everywhere," she said.

"We want to get full support so that there can be no excuses and no stalling. They'll all understand what the issue is.

"Victims have been pleading and begging. I am determined to keep this high up the agenda - I'm not going to stop."

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