6m Paid out to Survivors of Institutional Abuse
By Adrian Rutherford
February 17, 2021
|Archbishop Eamon Martin|
Almost ?6m has been paid out in compensation to survivors of historical institutional abuse in Northern Ireland.
A redress scheme opened to applications on March 31 last year, with the first payments made seven weeks later.
By the end of 2020, the Historical Institutional Abuse (HIA) Redress Board had received 959 applications for compensation, made determinations totalling ?7.38m and paid out ?5.76m.
The figures were disclosed by the First and Deputy First Ministers, Arlene Foster and Michelle O'Neill. They were responding to a question from the DUP MLA Christopher Stalford.
Mrs Foster and Ms O'Neill said: "Financial redress can never wholly deal with the legacy of abuse, but it is a practical demonstration of our acknowledgement as an Executive of what people have experienced."
The compensation payments follow a public inquiry which examined claims of child abuse at 22 residential institutions run by religious, charitable and state organisations across Northern Ireland over a 73-year period.
The HIA Inquiry also recommended memorialisation and an official apology. Yesterday it emerged discussions have been held over the apology.
Mrs Foster and Junior Minister Declan Kearney met with the Catholic Archbishop of Armagh Eamon Martin, the Church of Ireland Archbishop John McDowell as well as representatives of the religious orders and Barnardo's to discuss the remaining recommendations.
The discussions included progress on redress payments and provision of services for victims and survivors and the centrality of the views of victims to an official apology.
They also talked about principles to underpin forthcoming discussions on contributions by the institutions involved in the ownership and governance of children's homes to the costs of redress.
In a joint statement those at the meeting said all agreed that acceptance of responsibility and recognition of the harm done were central to the way forward.
The Executive Office is set to continue to engage with the Commissioner for Survivors of Institutional Childhood Abuse and with the institutions to ensure that a "timely and appropriate" joint official apology is made to abuse survivors.