NI victims meet with new Secretary of State

Following his appointment to the Northern Ireland Office, Julian Smith has had meetings with different victims campaign groups over the ongoing stalemate in Northern Ireland. These meetings seem to have been more upbeat than previous meetings with his predecessor Karen Bradley and the victims groups have expressed confidence in the new Secretary of State.

Victims and survivors had lost confidence in Ms Bradley and had gone as far as to call for her resignation. They remain unhappy that the recommendations of the Historic Institutional Abuse Inquiry have not progressed into any tangible form over 2 ½ years since they were presented to the Executive.

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HIAI Redress Delay developments

Hot on the heels of our recent update there have been further developments in the campaign to push for implementation of the Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry (HIAI) recommendations.

We have recently reported on the consultation process and the announcement by the Northern Ireland Civil Service that the results of the process had been passed to Secretary of State Karen Brady. More recently various representatives of the former residents of institutions have met with the Secretary of State to press for progress in the absence of the Executive.  They were very angry at what they saw as further delay on the part of the Secretary of State.  On her part the Secretary of State has confirmed that she sees the urgent need for implementation but she has asked the various political parties for comments on 15 questions around the implementation and recommendations.  She also sees the need for the NI politicians to take ownership of the issue and wants it to be part of the discussions to reinstate the Executive.

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Child Migrant Redress

The first report published by IICSA in March 2018 related to child migration and it included a recommendation that HM Government establish a redress scheme for surviving former child migrants providing an equal award to every applicant on the basis they were all exposed to the risk of sexual abuse. This concept of being at risk of abuse even if abuse did not occur echoes the harm’s way payments included in the Lambeth Council Scheme and proposed in the Northern Ireland Redress Scheme.

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Developments in the political arena in Northern Ireland and implications for Redress and the HIAI recommendations

The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Karen Bradley, made a number of announcements on the 6 September 2018 concerning the political impasse in Northern Ireland.  While the cut to the pay of the MLAs made the headlines it was the discussion about the role of the Civil Service and decision making powers that may be of significantly greater relevance. Continue reading

Impact of the Arc21 Judical Review on the Redress preparations

It is not immediately apparent how a judgement in a judicial review over a planning consent could have any impact on the Redress preparations being made in Stormont following the recommendations of Sir Anthony Hart in the Historic Institutional Abuse Inquiry.  However there could be significant consequences creating even greater confusion in the situation as it stands.

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IICSA’s First Report

On 1 March 2018 the IICSA published their first report following their case study into the Child Migration Programmes forming part of their investigation into Children Outside the UK. This report was awaited with interest not just because of its content but also because it is the first IICSA report and so its format and intent indicate the likely approach for other reports. Continue reading

HIAI report anniversary

Saturday 20th January marks the first anniversary of the publication of the Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry Report.  The report was published having been delivered to The Executive Office (formerly The Office of the First and Deputy First Ministers) as it was required to do. Continue reading

The cost of inquiries

The costs associated with funding inquiries are not usually the main focus when an inquiry is set up; attention is given to the scope of the investigation and how best this can be achieved through the Terms of Reference. However as inquiries are funded by the public purse, pursuant to the Inquiries Act 2005 (sections 39-40), and in light of the current number of national inquiries addressing a range of topics, knowledge and interest in the costs involved has grown as the public focus on whether such inquiries provide value for money.

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HIAI update from Northern Ireland

Sir Anthony Hart, Chairman of the Historic Institutional Abuse Inquiry (HIAI), took the unusual step of releasing a statement last week.

The Terms of Reference for the HIAI were announced by the First and Deputy First Ministers on the 31 May 2012, when they also announced the identity of the Chair and detail about the Acknowledgement Forum.

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