03 June 2020

Parties need to step up and compensate Troubles victims, says DUP

03 June 2020

Other parties need to step up to the plate on victims’ payments, DUP minister Diane Dodds has said.

She accused others of dragging their feet on compensating people who were badly injured during the Troubles in Northern Ireland.

Northern Ireland’s Victims Commissioner Judith Thompson has written an open letter to Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the Stormont Executive demanding a resolution to a “shameful stand-off”.

Mrs Dodds said the Justice Department had offered to administer the scheme.

It is unseemly to have this delay

“We as a party have agreed and we are waiting on other parties to step up to the plate and agree this,” she said.

“It is unseemly to have this delay. These people are not deserving of this delay and I would like to see this matter progressed as quickly as possible.”

The commissioner has said the treatment of victims by the authorities was “cruel, callous and insulting”.

After a long campaign for the support payments, which range from £2,000 to £10,000 a year depending on the severity of the injury, MPs passed legislation last year to establish the scheme.

It was supposed to open to applications on May 29 but its future has been thrown into doubt amid a wrangle between Stormont and the UK Government over who foots the £100 million-plus bill.

The Government has insisted it is a matter for the devolved administration to pay for out of its block grant.

But Stormont’s leaders say the scheme was legislated for at Westminster so that is where the funding should come from.

Mrs Thompson said victims had been let down again.

She demanded that Stormont fulfil its responsibility to appoint a department to administer the scheme.

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