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Westminster Summer break to delay legislating on Northern Irish historical abuse

This week, the chair of the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee in Westminster, Simon Hoare, noted that it is “highly likely” that there will be further delays in implementing compensation to victims of historical abuse in Northern Ireland. 

Hoare is referencing the publication of the 2017 Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry (also known as the Hart Inquiry) which investigated incidents of abuse at children’s residential homes in Northern Ireland from 1922-1995. It did not include schools, but rather institutions ran by religious groups as well as government bodies. Focusing on reports by witnesses or victims of violence or neglect at 22 institutions across NI, the inquiry found numerous systemic failings across 73 years. 

The report’s findings were announced in June 2017, however, none of the recommendations for compensation have been implemented so far as a result of the Stormont government collapsing in January 2017. The Hart Inquiry recommended an apology, memorial and compensation to the victims of historical child abuse.  

Hoare has urged he is hoping that the issue of viewing recommendations will be pushed through Westminster in the first two weeks of September, following the Summer break. However, this is too little too late for abuse victims and their supporters. Margaret McGuckin, a campaigner from the victims’ group Savia, noted in conversation with the BBC that “every day is like a year to our people”, and so is disappointed in the prospect of a further delay. The longer the issue takes to be discussed, the higher the prospect is of victims of abuse dying and justice not being carried out. 

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