Opening date for Troubles Victim’s Payment Scheme in June 2021 ‘a milestone for victims and survivors’
The First Minister, deputy First and Justice Ministers have welcomed the confirmation of an opening date for the Victims’ Payments Scheme.
Justice McAlinden has announced his intention to open the Troubles Permanent Disablement Payment Scheme for applications from June 30, 2021.
Mr Justice McAlinden is President of the Victims’ Payments Board, which will be responsible for determining who is entitled to payment in respect of an injury caused by a Troubles-related incident.
The framework on entitlement is set out in the Victims’ Payments Regulations 2020, which establish the Troubles Permanent Disablement Payment Scheme, and the Secretary of State’s Guidance which was published on 14 August 2020.
Mr Justice McAlinden was appointed by the Lord Chief Justice as President of the Victims’ Payments Board on 1 March 2021. Twenty-six legal, medical and ordinary members of the Board have also been sworn into office.
In a statement, Mr Justice McAlinden said: “I am delighted to announce that it is my intention that the Troubles Permanent Disablement Payments Scheme will open for applications from 30 June.
“As President I have worked closely with the recently appointed Board members and the team established by the Department of Justice to develop the administrative arrangements for the payment scheme.
“I have also held a number of constructive meetings with representatives from the main groups supporting the victims of the Troubles. This has helped to establish positiveworking relationships which should enable victims to have trust in the Board. The many victims deserve the recognition and payments to which they are entitled. The recent Court of Appeal decisions made it clear that the Executive Office was under a legal duty to make these payments and I am encouraged of the work carried out to ensure the full implementation of the scheme which the legislation envisages.”
First Minister Arlene Foster said: “It is encouraging that a date has now been set for the opening of the scheme. This is something that has been long-awaited by victims and survivors and all of us who support them.
“There is undoubtedly hard work ahead but we take heart from the progress made with both administrative arrangements and engagement as highlighted by Mr Justice McAlinden, President of the Victims’ Payments Board.
“We urge the Board to move with the greatest possible speed to provide both the recognition and payments that are rightfully owed.”
The deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill said: “I welcome the confirmation of an opening date for the scheme, which is a significant step forward for victims and survivors.
“There are countless people across our society who continue to live with the lasting impacts of the conflict. It is important that their pain and suffering is acknowledged; and that they receive the payments to which they are entitled.
“I hope today’s announcement will bring some comfort to those who are eligible for this support and I very much hope we see payments being made as quickly as possible when the scheme becomes operational.”
The Ministers reemphasised that payments will be made to successful applicants as soon as they fall due and restated their firm commitment to progressing financial discussions with the Westminster Government regarding their funding responsibilities for the scheme.
Justice Minister Naomi Long also welcomed today’s announcement by Mr Justice McAlinden of his intention to open the Troubles Permanent Disablement Payment Scheme for applications from 30 June 2021.
Naomi Long said: “I have said from the outset, when I agreed that my department could be designated to administer the scheme, that I shared the frustration of those who have been waiting for delivery of this important scheme and that we would do everything in our power to move things forward.
“Much progress has been made since then and I am grateful to the President and members of the Victims’ Payments Board for their commitment to make the scheme operational.
“Victims and survivors of the Troubles have waited a long time for this scheme and today’s announcement is an important milestone on what has been a long and painful journey for many.”