Local survivor urges SoS to introduce legislation

Jon McCourt addressing the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee in Westminster earlier this week.
Jon McCourt addressing the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee in Westminster earlier this week.

The Secretary of State has been urged to introduce legislation to secure compensation for survivors of institutional abuse to Parliament before the summer recess.

The Northern Ireland Affairs Committee has been told Karen Bradley will receive the final draft of the legislation next week.

Survivors believe the legislation should be introduced at Westminster before it rises for the summer on July 25.

It is more than two years since the Historical Institutional Abuse (HIA) inquiry exposed abuse at children’s homes run by religious orders, charities and the state and recommended compensation for survivors.

Jon McCourt, chairman of Survivors North West, told the committee some victims have been waiting 70 years for acknowledgement.

He said: “It’s our hope and our wish that this Parliament sees it appropriate to carry forward the legislation for victims and survivors of historical institutional abuse.

“While we are talking about waiting two years, one of our friends has waited over 70 years, just think about that, over 70 years for someone to hear a voice and say what can we do to put this right.

“I think the opportunity is here before this Parliament, this House, this committee, to put this right and address this issue once and for all to the satisfaction of victims and survivors, and certainly as a tribute to the work that Sir Anthony Hart did while he carried out the inquiry.

“If there was a will to do this, it could be done.”

A spokesman for The Executive Office said: “Brendan McAllister the new Interim Advocate held initial meetings with Victims and Survivors Groups and political parties last week and discussed a further amendment to the proposed HIA redress legislation. It is intended that the revised legislation including the proposed amendment will be sent to the Secretary of State during week commencing July 15, requesting that the legislation is promulgated through Parliament.”