Northern Ireland

HIA victims protest at Stormont against lack of progress

Stormont protest by historical institutional abuse victims
Image caption The group said there had been no progress in delivering the recommendations in January's HIA report

A protest march at Stormont has called on politicians to speed up help for victims of historical institutional abuse.

The group handed in a 30-page document and a letter calling for action and a start to negotiations with victims.

They said that there had been no progress since an inquiry delivered its verdict in January.

The inquiry's chair, Sir Anthony Hart, found that some children's homes were the scene of widespread abuse.

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

Devolved government in Northern Ireland collapsed in January over a botched energy scheme, and efforts to strike a deal to form a power-sharing agreement have failed since a snap Northern Ireland Assembly election on 2 March.

A new deadline of 29 June has been proposed for the formation of a Northern Ireland Executive.

The protest group said there had been "no progress in delivering apologies, a redress scheme and support services for victims because of the absence of a functioning Northern Ireland government".

Image caption Patrick Corrigan said the delay was 'cruel punishment' for victims

The group want the political parties and UK government to address the issue in the current Stormont talks process.

After meeting at parliament buildings, the group then marched down to Stormont Castle.

Patrick Corrigan of Amnesty International, which is supporting the victims' campaign for justice, said victims had to "wait all their lives for justice and at the moment they are being asked to wait even longer because there is no government in place".

"Victims are crying out for a redress process, for apologies and for support services to be put in place, at the moment there is no prospect of that in sight," he said.

"It's deeply angering for many people and also a sense of despair is setting in with some.

"Many of these people are at very advanced years and they fear that they will not live to see justice.

He added: "These victims have been made to wait far too long for justice as it is and it's frankly cruel punishment for them to be made to wait even longer.

"This has to be on the agenda for the talks at the moment and has to be top of the list for delivery when Stormont government returns."

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