Abuse inquiry statement welcomed

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Jon McCourt, the chairman of a group set up to help victims of historical institutional abuse, says he believed the ongoing independent inquiry into institutional abuse was “moving forward”.

The inquiry is being led by retired judge, Sir Anthony Hart and was set up in 2013.

Whilst it is not scheduled to finish until next summer, 2016, it is understood the inquiry will deliver its report in January 2017.

Last week its chairman recommended victims be compensated.

Reacting to the announcement, Jon McCourt from Survivors (North West) said: “It looks like things are moving forward.

“While he stated that the release of his statement at this time was ‘unprecedented’, it was indeed a step to be welcomed on behalf of victims and survivors of historical institutional abuse.

“The Inquiry chairman, Sir Anthony Hart, will recommend a scheme to award financial compensation for victims and survivors,” said Mr McCourt.

“Such a scheme will include those who have engaged with the Acknowledgement Forum or the Statutory Inquiry at Banbridge.

“Others who were in institutions, who qualify under the Terms of Reference and who, for whatever reason, did not engage with the Inquiry, will also be entitled to participate in the proposed Redress Scheme,” added Mr McCourt.

Last year the Northern Ireland Assembly gave the Inquiry an extra year to carry out its work, and the new timetable means the organisation must conclude the investigative part of its work by mid-July in 2016.