Northern Ireland news

Troubles pension scheme applications to open on June 30

Alliance Leader and MEP Naomi Long Picture Mal McCann.

APPLICATIONS for the long-awaited Troubles pension scheme will open on June 30.

Mr Justice McAlinden, president of the Victims' Payments Board, the body responsible for determining who is entitled to payments, made the announcement yesterday after meetings over recent weeks with representatives from the main victims' groups.

The opening of the scheme, which could cost up to £1.2 billion over its lifetime, has already faced long delays.

Uncertainty remains over who will foot the bill, with Stormont continuing to press Whitehall for a significant contribution.

Finance minister Conor Murphy has said his department will make the funding available but has warned that other departments' budgets could be cut as a consequence.

Mr Justice McAlinden said the meetings with the victims' groups had helped to establish trust in the board.

"The many victims deserve the recognition and payments to which they are entitled," he said.

"The recent Court of Appeal decisions made it clear that the Executive Office was under a legal duty to make these payments and I am encouraged of the work carried out to ensure the full implementation of the scheme which the legislation envisages."

Justice Minister Naomi Long welcomed the announcement but said she shared the frustration of those waiting for the scheme's delivery.

“Victims and survivors of the Troubles have waited a long time for this scheme and today's announcement is an important milestone on what has been a long and painful journey for many.”

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