Lord Maginnis tables question over delay to Victims’ Payment Scheme
The campaign to get the Government to implement the Victims’ Payment Scheme has been taken to the House of Lords by Ulster peer, Lord Maginnis.
The former MP for Fermanagh-South Tyrone has tabled a question asking what plans the Government has to intervene directly following the failure of the Northern Ireland Executive to implement and operate the scheme.
Lord Maginnis told the News Letter: “Putting the brakes on this scheme when it was about to be introduced late May was down to Sinn Fein.
“It is all part of their effort to re-write history and to create equivalence between genuine victims and the people who made them victims. It is dishonourable behaviour by those who ‘collar and tie’ remnants of PIRA.
“They must not be allowed to get their own way on this issue. Since the scheme cannot be introduced and managed by a devolved Government department in Stormont, then it must be taken back by our national Government and administered by London.
“There is no other viable option available. It is a shameful failure but it simply must not be held up any longer.
“I’m now asking Westminster to signal its displeasure with Sinn Fein’s cold-hearted antics and to announce that it will move to end the anguish of thousands of innocent victims in Northern Ireland.
“Let’s remember, this is a UK scheme, not solely affecting people in Northern Ireland. There are victims in Great Britain, the Netherlands, Germany and Spain, and it is no less than honourable that our national Government should be responsible for a scheme that will bring some financial relief to people who deserve to be treated fairly and with dignity.”
The question tabled by Lord Maginnis asks: “To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to (1) reports that the Northern Ireland Executive has failed to implement the Victims’ Payment Scheme for victims of terrorism successfully, and (2) the UK’s historical responsibility and involvement in the 1969–1994 counter terrorism campaign in Northern Ireland, what plans they have to take direct responsibility for the implementation and operation of that Scheme.”
Meanwhile, the chair of the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee, Simon Hoare MP, has said that the delay to the scheme is “inexcusable and unforgivable”.
Writing in today’s News Letter he states: “ It is entirely unacceptable that victims be forced to wait any longer while politics once again holds up the process.
“The responsibility now lies with the Northern Ireland Executive to begin payments.”