Campaigners against institutional abuse ‘have not given up hope’

Victims of institutional abuse in Northern Ireland have not given up hope of progress, one campaigner has said.

Jon McCourt said draft legislation ensuring compensation for those harmed over many decades in residential homes run by the state and members of religious orders could be carried forward into the next Westminster session.

It may not become law before Parliament’s suspension in September.

Mr McCourt, from the north west, said he would be writing to parliamentarians urging them to agree to pursue the matter further.

“I think at this point, until it goes down, I won’t write it off.

“It is like the carrot and the stick then the stick grows longer.”

He said unfinished legislation could be carried forward on an exceptional basis.

Margaret McGuckin, from victims’ group Savia, believed the Northern Ireland Secretary had been seeking a slot in early autumn to bring forward a draft law.

Margaret McGuckin
Margaret McGuckin (Niall Carson/PA)

She said the Government could authorise interim payments to survivors without further parliamentary process.

Former senior judge Sir Anthony Hart held one of the UK’s biggest public inquiries into child abuse from a disused courthouse in Banbridge, Co Down.

He recommended compensation and a series of other measures after investigating decades of physical, sexual and emotional abuse at residential homes run by clergy and the state.

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