Willie Hay believes the institutions responsible for the catalogue of abuse inflicted in State, voluntary and church run homes between 1922 and 1995 in N. Ireland should be forced to pay compensation.
The DUP veteran said all of the organisations, including the Catholic orders found by the Hart inquiry to have allowed children to be abused while under their care, should make financial contributions under any forthcoming compensation scheme.
That’s in spite of the ‘Report of the Inquiry into Historical Institutional Abuse’ recommending last year that a proposed lump sum payment to former residents of Termonbacca - among other homes - who suffered abuse, should be paid out by the government and not the institutions involved.
Speaking in the House of Lords, where the former Derry councillor now takes the title, Lord Hay of Ballyore, he said: “We all sympathise with the need to find a way to resolve this issue. However, I have a question not only for the minister but for members of this house. Do they agree that the institutions that carried out the abuse should also be held to account and should have to look at providing some funding to resolve this issue?
“It is unfair that wholly taxpayers’ money is going to resolve this issue for victims.
“I sympathise with what members have said, but the issue needs to be raised with the institutions that first created the abuse of the many victims out there. Ministers, the government and members who raised this issue need to think about this.”
Ian Duncan, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Northern Ireland Office (NIO), replied that the implementation of Judge Anthony Hart’s recommendations, was a matter for the local power-sharing Executive, if and when it was ever resurrected.
He said: “For anyone who has read it [the Hart Report] and recognised what it contains, it makes challenging reading. Of that there is no doubt. The courage and dignity of those who have taken part in that particular inquiry are to be commended. I acknowledge the frustration so many feel about the lack of progress, particularly in the absence of an Executive to consider that particulareport. But I welcome the preparatory work being taken forward by the Executive Office to enable action to be taken swiftly once an Executive is restored.”
Last year Judge Hart said victims should be compensated under a State-funded scheme partly due to the fact that his inquiry had not “investigated every institution in respect of which there have been allegations of abuse.”