We’re getting used to waiting…
First, the money has to be found
Then, we had to wait to find out who was to pay
Then, it will be settled by March 2020
And we are still waiting.
And now, more importantly, innocent victims have been told they have to wait … again
The Justice Minister, Naomi Long, now says the opening of the Victims’ Payment Scheme is to be delayed by a number of weeks. This is to allow for guidance around medical assessments to be provided to applicants.
We have no idea what ‘a number of weeks’ actually means. The Minister wanted victims to be able to make applications in March, but will this further delay now see the opening of the scheme put back to April or later?
Ulster Human Rights Watch want the scheme to be right, beyond reproach, where the emphasis is on easing the financial burden for innocent victims of terrorism.
What we don’t understand is why this work now underway couldn’t have been done months ago. What has been happening since last May, when the scheme was meant to launch, until December – eight months to get an application form agreed; the IT system established and the appointment of a Victims’ Payment Board.
There is a sluggishness about all of this that is regrettable and annoying.
We’ll keep a close eye on ‘progress’ over coming weeks to see if ‘a number of weeks’ creeps into another month or two. Of course, that still leaves unresolved the disagreement over whether Stormont or the Government should pay for the scheme.