Historical Institutional Abuse: Ni Institutions Urged to Help with Compensation

By Jayne McCormack
September 28, 2020

Fist Minister Arlene Foster was speaking in the assembly on Monday

It is a "moral imperative" that some NI institutions and religious orders contribute to compensation for historical abuse victims, First Minister Arlene Foster has said.

Last year, the then-head of the NI civil service David Sterling said state-led institutions and churches would be "pursued" for payments.

Mrs Foster said she wants to hold a meeting with the groups to discuss making progress.

The first payments were awarded in May,

On Monday, Mrs Foster told the NI Assembly that the estimates of the cost of the scheme range from ?149m at the lower end, to an upper limit of ?668m.

The Stormont executive has previously said it cannot afford to fund the scheme entirely from the block grant.

Last week, MPs passed a bill at Westminster to allow victims to receive redress.

Last year, David Sterling said the civil service would "pursue" institutions over compensation

It came three years after the Historical Institutional Abuse (HIA) Inquiry published its findings, and made recommendations calling for compensation payments to be made to victims and survivors.

The inquiry investigated allegations of abuse at children's homes and residential institutions across Northern Ireland over a 73-year period.

In November 2019, Mr Sterling wrote to six institutions, including some religious orders, reminding them of their obligations.

They were:

Barnardo's, which ran the Macedon Home in Newtownabbey

The Sisters of Nazareth

The Good Shepherd Sisters

The De La Salle order

Irish Church Missions

The Sisters of St Louis

On Monday, the first minister said that contributions from some institutions would help the Executive Office to "defray some of the costs".

She said a potential meeting had been discussed with the Church of Ireland's most senior cleric and the leader of the Catholic Church in Ireland.

"We will shortly be writing to both archbishops and to the institutions seeking to hold a roundtable to emphasise the urgency of making progress, and to seek to agree principles which would govern those negotiations," she said.

"It is a moral imperative and I think it would be warmly welcomed if the institutions stepped up in that way."

Mrs Foster also said the process to appoint a full-time commissioner for HIA victims and survivors is in its "final stages" and that both she and Deputy First Minister Michelle O'Neill will make an announcement once pre-security checks are completed.








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