Opposition parties table motion on HIA Inquiry

UUP leader Mike Nesbitt

UUP leader Mike Nesbitt

Opposition parties in Northern Ireland have requested the Speaker allow the Assembly to discuss the recommendations of the report from the Historical Institutional Abuse (HIA) Inquiry next week.

The motion, signed by the Ulster Unionist Party, SDLP, Alliance Party, Green Party, People Before Profit and TUV, would see the Assembly have the opportunity to discuss the report by the inquiry before dissolution.

Ulster Unionist Party leader, Mike Nesbitt said there has been anger that the report now cannot be actioned due to the current political crisis at Stomont.

He added: “Of all the people who will suffer because of this current political impasse, victims and survivors of historical institutional abuse are at the forefront. To prolong the wait for redress for those who suffered would be unforgivable.

“The publication of the report will have been a day survivors have waited decades for. Yet they find themselves plunged into further uncertainty without an Executive in place to action the recommendations.

“This issue cannot simply sit on the shelf for the duration of the election, that’s why we have forced it onto the agenda. When you look at the parties from across the political spectrum who have signed this motion, it is clear that this is an issue that should sit above politics. Survivors should not suffer because we have hit further political impasse.”

SDLP Leader, Colum Eastwood MLA said the “fortitude and the dignity” displayed by victims and survivors of historical institutional abuse as many relived the most harrowing human experiences has been “immense”.

He added: “Their unyielding strength must be matched ounce for ounce by a commitment from all parties to faithfully address their needs, not least of all the urgent need for financial redress for those who have suffered so much.

“The Assembly must urgently consider the recommendations made by Judge Hart and his team. This inquiry has been challenging and deeply distressing for all those involved, it cannot fall victim to the poisoned political atmosphere between the Executive parties. We will not let it.”