The Secretary of State for the North, Karen Bradley, has been urged to implement the recommendations made by Judge Anthony Hart in his ‘Inquiry into Historical Institutional Abuse’ report, including that proposed lump sums be paid to former Termonbacca residents.
The Northern Ireland Ireland Affairs Committee chair, Andrew Murrison, has written to Mrs. Bradley insisting that with Stormont in cold storage and no clear sign of that changing, she needs to act.
He wrote: “During the passage of the NI (Executive Formation and Exercise of Functions) Act, I tabled an amendment asking that the guidance issued to the NI civil service should direct departments to take action implementing the recommendations of the Hart Inquiry.
“Other members have continued to raise this issue, and you recently stated that, once The Executive Office consultation is complete and recommendations have been made, you will ‘consider them in the normal way’.”
The TEO consultation on legislation to give effect to Judge Hart’s recommendations, including that victims be compensated under a State-funded scheme, closed on March 10.
David Sterling, the Head of the Northern Ireland Civil Service, said: “I remain committed to moving to implementation, as quickly as possible, once Ministers have taken the necessary decisions.”
But now Mr. Murrison, in his fresh letter to the Secretary of State, has declared: “We have seen no indication that devolution is about to be restored in NI.
“Indeed, one MLA recently told us that she had no hope of an Executive being restored this year. This is, of couse, hugely disappointing but there must be a degree of realism about this in your Department. If there is no NI Executive or Assembly in place, then legislation necessary to implement those recommendations should be taken through Westminster as soon as possible.”