Ulster Unionist MLA Mike Nesbitt has expressed his disgust at the news that the Secretary of State will not take steps to provide redress to the victims and survivors of institutional abuse, despite being asked to do so by the Head of the Northern Ireland Civil Service.
The former Victims Commissioner said:
“The Secretary of State is simply wrong to suggest the quickest route to a resolution for victims is through the Programme for Government Working Group that is part of the current political talks. The direct route lies in her doing her job, and taking the matter to Westminster. Is she really trying to tell us that anyone is going to object to the government providing some recompense for people who were horribly abused through no fault of their own and have spent a lifetime waiting for redress?
“The Head of the Civil Service, David Sterling, has confirmed there is not a single penny in this year’s budget for victims of historical institutional abuse – not a penny. That means more than three years will have passed since Sir Anthony Hart’s Public Inquiry vindicated their claims of abuse before anyone receives the support he said they are due.
“In suggesting the issue should be included in the discussions over the Programme for Government, Ms Bradley is suggesting victims become pawns in a negotiation, potentially bartered against the issues that are holding up the restoration of devolution. That is morally wrong and politically crass.
“I just hope this latest setback provokes a wave of revulsion over the way the victims and survivors are being treated and I urge the public to make their views known. Sometimes in life, there are turning points. Let us make this one of them.”