The Historical Institutional Abuse (Northern Ireland) Bill passed through the Commons yesterday before Parliament was dissolved in preparation for the December elections. This paves the way for the creation of a Redress Panel and the appointment of a Commissioner for Victims of residential Institutional abuse as recommended by Sir Anthony Hart in 2017.
Survivors and victims will be relieved as the threat that time could run out and deprive them of this Bill was very real.
The Bill passed through Committee stage in approximately 7 minutes and the speed of that was commented upon by the Deputy Speaker and the Secretary of State.
Steps can now be taken in Northern Ireland to appoint a President and judicial members to the Redress Panel and to start drafting the regulations needed to create and operate the Scheme. It is likely that the appointed President will be involved in drafting the procedures and processes with civil servants from The Executive Office.
The Interim Advocate will be involved in these next few months in representing the views of survivor and victim groups in the preparation of the Redress scheme and in the appointment of the full time Commissioner.
The recruitment and appointment process for the various roles will need to be considered quickly and the job requirements, staffing and budgets for the two offices will also now need to be finalised.
This marks the beginning of the end for the campaigners and there will be great relief that this stage has now been reached without the further delay of purdah creating greater difficulties for all concerned.
Written by Ciara McReynolds at BLM