Northern Ireland

HIA report implementation 'urgent', says chairman

HIA
Image caption The HIA heard evidence from hundreds of people who spent their childhood in residential homes and institutions

The Historical Institutional Abuse (HIA) Inquiry panel has written to political party leaders urging a "speedy implementation" of its recommendations.

The inquiry studied allegations of abuse in 22 homes and other residential institutions between 1922 to 1995.

Its verdict recommended compensation, a memorial and a public apology to abuse survivors.

The panel was chaired by Sir Anthony Hart.

Sir Anthony said a tax-free payment should be made to all survivors, including in homes and institutions that were not covered by the inquiry.

He added a number of people who had given evidence had since died and it was only "just and humane" that their spouses or children should receive a payment of 75% of the total lump sum.

The payments will range from £7,500 to £100,000.

Sir Anthony also recommended that a permanent memorial be established at Stormont and a commissioner for survivors of institutional abuse be appointed.

'Matter of urgency'

He has now said, that since talks at Stormont have reconvened, it is a "matter of urgency" that the inquiry's recommendations are implemented.

The panel investigated facilities which were run by the state, local authorities, the Catholic Church, the Church of Ireland and the children's charity Barnardo's.

Image copyright PAcemaker
Image caption The HIA was led by retired judge Sir Anthony Hart

Sir Anthony Hart emphasised that if an executive is not formed, the parties should "publicly call upon the secretary of state" to take action.

"The implementation of our recommendations is urgent because so many of those who waited many years for their voices to be heard, and who anxiously await the implementation of our recommendations, are now advancing in years and, or in poor health, and for them the prospect of more delay adds to the burden so many have carried for so long," he added.

Image caption The Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry heard evidence at Banbridge Courthouse from 2014 to 2016

In April, a protest group said there had been "no progress" due to a failure to form a power-sharing executive.

Talks aimed at reaching an agreement were put on hold until after the snap general election on 8 June.

The deadline for parties to reach an agreement to be reached was extended to 29 June.

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