The Commissioner for Victims and Survivors has highlighted a catalogue of missed deadlines that is causing delay, deprivation and distress for thousands of victims and survivors of the troubles. She has called on the Northern Ireland Executive and the Northern Ireland Office to urgently publish clear dates for implementation.
“I have raised all of these issues with the relevant authorities and am disappointed to report that we have been met with sympathy but no hard answers on how progress will be made,” said the Commissioner.
Speaking as the deadline for establishment of the Victims Payment Scheme is due, Judith Thompson said that while she and the Victims and Survivors Forum were painfully aware of the added pressures on all areas of Government due to the COVID-19 response, it was nevertheless their responsibility to ensure that legally binding commitments were delivered on.
“If there are going to be delays then the very least that can be done is to be honest with those people who have already suffered the most in our society. It is incumbent on both the Northern Ireland Executive and the Northern Ireland Office to tell them why there have been delays and be clear on when they can expect to see progress.
“It has been made clear to me that victims and survivors are not only deeply distressed but very angry that once again they are made to feel expendable. It is one thing to fight for years to get agreement on victim’s payment but quite another to be made to wait for delivery once agreement has been gained.
“We do not want a situation where Government has to be challenged in court by elderly victims and survivors to get what they have been promised.
“While there may be a reason for delay, there is simply no excuse for a complete lack of communication, detailed future timeframes and interim payments where appropriate to demonstrate goodwill.
“That is the very least that can be done for victims and survivors who have suffered enough.”
For further information or enquiries, please contact Sheila Davidson on 07785793672.