Government should compensate historical abuse victims, says O’Neill

Michelle O'Neill said she had raised the matter with James Brokenshire
Michelle O'Neill said she had raised the matter with James Brokenshire

Sinn Fein has demanded that the British government fund compensation payments to victims of historical institutional abuse in Northern Ireland.

Party leader in the Province, Michelle O’Neill, said she has raised the issue with Secretary of State James Brokenshire as part of the current talks to restore power-sharing at Stormont.

Ms O’Neill insisted that she will continue to push Mr Brokenshire on the matter over the next few days.

In January a report by the Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry (HIA) found that children’s homes run by some churches, charities and state institutions in Northern Ireland were the scene of widespread abuse and mistreatment of young residents.

One of the HIA’s recommendations was that a tax-free lump sum payment – ranging from £7,500 to £100,000 – should be made to all survivors.

“No one could fail to have been moved by the harrowing evidence brought forward during the Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry.

“Sinn Fein believes that victims and survivors are entitled to redress as a result of their abuse,” said Ms O’Neill.

She added: “We have raised this directly with James Brokenshire during the current talks, putting forward our position that his government should pay for the redress for victims and survivors.

“The British government should now, as a signal of good intent, publicly state to victims that it will cover the cost of redress.

“Sinn Fein will continue to raise this issue directly with the British government in the interests of victims and survivors in the coming days.”