While the Queen’s speech delivered on Monday 14 October indicated a number of headline grabbing initiatives around the Brexit process and progress, education, security and so on there was a small section of interest to the Victims and Survivors of Institutional abuse.
The government introduced an assurance that the legislation lost at the prorogation to enact the necessary legislation to implement the recommendations of the HIAI would return to the House. They confirmed that legislation would establish a Historical Institutional Abuse Redress Board. This Board would be responsible for administering a publicly funded compensation scheme for those eligible under the HIAI recommendations.
The Bill will also create a statutory Commissioner for Survivors of Institutional Childhood Abuse in Northern Ireland.
These are the two headline recommendations and will lead the way for the other recommendations such as the presentation of apologies and the establishment of a memorial to those who were in residential care.
The use of Westminster powers in establishing these institutions is necessary as the Assembly has still not returned and we have passed 1,000 days with no Assembly present. Recent calls by the DUP to recall the Stormont Assembly in an effort to prevent abortion reforms have not been widely accepted by the other parties as substantial political differences remain, particularly between the DUP and Sinn Fein. The potential for the Assembly to return in the near future remains very slim.
Ciara McReynolds, Solicitor, BLM