The delay in the opening of the Troubles Permanent Disablement Payment Scheme is inexcusable and unforgivable.
After decades of campaigning for their right to redress, and with the promise of compensation secured, justice has been cruelly denied to victims and survivors of the Troubles. Those people now face an anxious wait to access funds and services. The urgent need for action is compounded by many survivors of the Troubles being elderly or in ill health.
It is entirely unacceptable that victims be forced to wait any longer while politics once again holds up the process.
The moral duty to compensate victims was signalled when the House of Commons agreed, without a vote, to the regulations establishing the fund. The responsibility now lies with the Northern Ireland Executive to begin payments as a matter of the utmost urgency.
That recompense is an important piece of the reconciliation process. Any further delay will not only continue the suffering of victims but could well sew further seeds of distrust in the ability of the political process to resolve such issues and deliver on the needs of local people.
Stormont is only just back up and running after a too long hiatus. I know that local people are fed up of excuse and process they want to see delivery and action.
The current situation may be a ‘win’ for those who put political goals above all else. It is in fact a failure to deliver mature public service and duty. I do not believe the people of Northern Ireland should, or will, put up with such selfishness.
I expect (as do the cross party members of the House of Commons NI Select Committee) all parties to do all in their power to do right by victims immediately.
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