Yet another delay – Yet more disappointment

The decision by the Court of Appeal to adjourn a decision on the Victims’ Payment scheme until the 26th March is yet another disappointment for innocent victims of terrorism, according to Ulster Human Rights Watch (UHRW).

UHRW Advocacy Manager, Axel Schmidt, said: “This latest delay follows a claim made by The Executive Office that it cannot afford the scheme.

“The Executive Office is at loggerheads with the Government over funding for the scheme and this excuse expressed in Court does nothing to assuage the views of innocent victims that they are being used as pawns in a grubby political tug-o-war.

“It is scandalous that this situation has been allowed to drag on for a year. Ministers are seemingly indifferent to the pain and suffering their indecision and in-fighting are causing people in need.

“Innocent victims, through no fault of their own, are living with shocking and awful injuries and conditions due to the actions of mindless terrorists. Every day that passes without a resolution to the Payments Scheme leaves them feeling they are forgotten and abandoned at the very back of the queue.

“This is not the way for a civilised society to treat its most vulnerable and needy.”

Memorial Day for Victims of Terrorism 11/03/2021 – Invitation to attend from Jim Allister MLA

Every year since the Madrid bombings in 2004 a Memorial Day to the victims of terrorist attacks has been observed. Since 2012 I have hosted an event to mark the day at Parliament Buildings. It has been highly successful with a large number of victims attending from across the Province. This year’s event sadly cannot take place in person due to the pandemic but we will be running an online event which can be accessed on Facebook via this link on 11th March 2021. Streaming will start shortly before 11am. You will also be able to view it via the Jim Allister Facebook page.

The event will take the form of a minute of silence in memory of murdered victims, followed by some victims telling their stories so that the wider community might hear some of the untold accounts of the consequences of terrorism, both republican and loyalist.

I am thankful to the South East Fermanagh Foundation and Ulster Human Rights Watch for their help in assisting with the planning of this event.

I believe that anyone who was in attendance on previous years will agree that this was a worthwhile event. While 2021 must of necessity be different I look forward to welcoming you virtually.

Yours faithfully,

Jim Allister

Appeal to Executive and Secretary of State to sort out Victims’ Pensions

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.”

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