Ulster Human Rights Watch is appealing to the Northern Ireland Executive and the Secretary of State to end the stand-off over who pays for the long-delayed Victims’ Pension Scheme.

Both sides meet today and UHRW says it hopes they will agree a path that will see payments being made to innocent victims of terrorism.

UHRW Advocacy Manager, Axel Schmidt, said: “This scheme should have been in operation since May last year and it is a shocking state of affairs that victims of terrorism are still waiting for what they are entitled to.

“To innocent victims, many of whom have life-changing conditions inflicted by terrorists, it matters little whether the pension is paid by Belfast or London. Many are in financial need and this scheme represents a badly needed lifeline.

“Our appeal to the Executive Ministers and the Secretary of State, Brandon Lewis MP as they sit down today is to leave no stone unturned in their search for a satisfactory outcome.

“Victims of terrorism are not political pawns and shouldn’t be treated like this. They deserve decency and acknowledgement that they have suffered enough. It’s up to our politicians to sort out who has responsibility for funding what is, after all, a national scheme.

“Victims have seen false dawns before and we must now hope that the posturing is over and agreement finally reached to ensure the scheme is effectively implemented.”