East Antrim Alliance MLA, Stewart Dickson, has criticised Michelle O’Neill’s comments on compensation payments to victims of Historical Institutional Abuse in Northern Ireland.
Sinn Féin has demanded that the British government fund compensation payments. 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.
Mr Dickson said: “I am disappointed that Sinn Féin is attempting to abdicate responsibility for compensation of victims of Historical Abuse from the Northern Ireland Executive.
“In the Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry report, it was recommended that:
'The Northern Ireland Executive and those who were responsible for each of the institutions investigated by the Inquiry where we found systemic failings should make a public apology.'
“It is clear that it recommends an apology specifically from the Northern Ireland Executive.
“While there is more than enough blame to go around, including to British government departments, the responsibility for compensation is for the Northern Ireland Executive.
“A clear framework has been set out in the report for compensation to be provided to victims. It is now for the two main parties to return to power-sharing as quickly as possible and deliver on this framework.
Mr Dickson concluded: “A redress scheme must be set up as a matter of urgency. The longer it takes to form an Executive, the longer it will take to provide compensation for the elderly or those in poor health. Applicants to the Inquiry who may not live to receive compensation.”