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Secretary of State failing abuse victims

  • James Brokenshire refusing to act
  • Abuse victims denied redress

Ulster Unionist MLA Mike Nesbitt has expressed his deep disappointment at the news that the Secretary of State has refused to use his powers to ensure victims of institutional abuse receive the redress recommended by the Inquiry headed by Sir Anthony Hart.

The Strangford MLA said:

“I understand James Brokenshire has told victims’ representatives that he will not move to legislate in the absence of a devolved Executive. I do not support that position; indeed, I don’t even understand it.

“It’s all very well saying the best way forward is to restore the Northern Ireland Executive but that is cold comfort to abuse victims, some of whom have been waiting decades for redress, while others have sadly passed away.

“The Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry made clear abuse victims were let down by the State and agents acting on the State’s behalf. The case for redress has been made. It is time to act and in the absence of functioning devolution, I believe it is the Secretary of State’s duty to step in, as he has already done regarding the budget and mechanisms to restore the Executive.

“I understand the five main local parties all support Mr Brokenshire moving to make Interim Payments to abuse victims. If that is not the case, they should say so.

“I call on James Brokenshire to re-think his position and move at the first opportunity to introduce legislation at Westminster to facilitate the immediate release of what amounts to nothing more than token payments to those whose lives have been irreversibly blighted through no fault of their own.” 

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Ulster Unionists