PM urged to intervene as NI abuse victims ‘dying without seeing justice’

Theresa May was urged to personally intervene over compensation to those who suffered institutional abuse in Northern Ireland after she was told “victims are dying without seeing justice”.

DUP Westminster leader Nigel Dodds (Belfast North) said it has been more than two years since a report into historical offences took place, and survivors are still waiting for a resolution.

During Prime Minister’s Questions, he said: “The fact of the matter is many of them are dying without seeing the compensation come through.”

He said “this has got to stop”, as he asked Mrs May to intervene and see that “immediate action” takes place.

In response, the PM said she understands the “extent of concern” but said it is a devolved matter to be dealt with.

She said it would be a matter for the Northern Ireland Executive to deal with but as there is currently none in place, Northern Ireland Secretary Karen Bradley will look into it.

Earlier in the Commons, Ms Bradley had come under fire on the issue, with Mr Dodds saying the delay in paying compensation to the victims is an “outrage”.

The Cabinet minister said she “did not shy away from her responsibilities” on the issue.

In the absence of the powersharing executive in Northern Ireland, the UK Government is responsible for handling these claims.

Mr Dodds (pictured) said: “The Secretary of State, and indeed the whole House, will be aware of the sense of outrage that there is across the entire community in Northern Ireland, and indeed the victims of abuse, about the Secretary of State’s approach to this issue in recent days and, frankly, many people are saying that far too much time has elapsed already.

“Given the fact the Secretary of State does have the ability to make this move faster, people are outraged at the idea of having to wait another couple of years, as she appeared to indicate.

“Will she now bring forward measures to immediately deal with this issue?”

Ms Bradley replied: “I do not shy away in any way from my responsibilities in this area and I am determined we will act as soon as we can.

“The two years he referred to are predictions from the Civil Service of Northern Ireland but that is not an estimate that I have put forward.”

Mr Dodds responded: “This is one of probably the most terrible examples of a whole series of decisions that have cross-party and cross-community support that she has refused to do anything about, even though this place and her Government is responsible for the administration of Northern Ireland.”

Copyright (c) Press Association Ltd. 2019, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) UK Parliament.