A masked man has spoken to the Belfast Telegraph newspaper and admitted that nine former residents of St Patricks Home in West Belfast had been responsible for an arson attack on the premises. The arson continues to be investigated by the PSNI but the man indicated that he and his accomplices were happy that there was no evidence remaining from the blaze and did not fear prosecution.
The man said he was part of a survivors group representing approximately 140 former residents of the home run by the De La Salle Order. St Patrick’s closed as a residential facility and the property was sold to a development company.
The man indicated that the attack had been arranged by the small group as a response to the abuse they had allegedly suffered there in the 1990s. He said that they had all felt some satisfaction and release following the attack and that this was the last act in a series of vandalism attacks on the property. He advised that none of the group had received any redress or compensation and this event was a part of that frustration but that they would not take part in any further criminal actions and would pursue their claims through the appropriate redress channels from now on.
It is likely that frustrations will continue to build at the delay in implementing the HIAI recommendations and the announcement recently that Troubles victims will receive a pension is likely to add to that frustration for those awaiting a redress scheme. The idea of an annual pension may also now feature in the minds of the victims as an avenue for them rather than a single lump sum payment.
Written by Ciara McReynolds at BLM