Funds secured for HIA inquiry

Published Monday, 21 July 2014
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Victims of child sex abuse say they're relieved that funding has been found for the Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry.

First Minister Peter Robinson had said on Friday that the inquiry's work could be suspended if the Executive failed to agree on budget adjustments.

He said the June Monitoring Round is yet to be signed off due to ongoing disagreement over welfare reform.

Prior to the funding being secured, victims expressed their anger at Stormont on Monday in response to the First Minister's comments.

Margaret McGuckin, from Survivors and Victims of Institutional Abuse (SAVIA), said that while they were given some reassurance that the inquiry would be funded, the initial comments were "inhuman and abusive".

"We let them know that we're very very angry, it's living through this nightmare. It was very unkind, it was untimely, it was uncalled for," she said.

"We still want Peter Robinson to retract that statement, come out with an apology, tell him to put his hands up and just let us know that he will work for the better good of the victims."

She said she had been contacted by others concerned about the timing, particularly after claims about Kincora Boys' Home had been highlighted in the media.

Allegations MI5 knew about, but ignored the abuse taking place there in the 1970s have led to calls for it to be included in a UK-wide child abuse inquiry

"Are they trying to close the whole inquiry down because of revelations [that include] the British establishment, MI5 and maybe from the heart of our own government here - is there a cover up? This is what I'm getting," Ms McGuckin said.

Former residents of Kincora in east Belfast were among the delegation who attended Stormont.

Clint Massey, who went to the home in 1973, said: "It took me all the courage that I had to actually contact the inquiry team and now that this pettiness from leaders of our government - it's not good for me at all.

"I'm not the strongest person.

"I do wish they would sit round the table and talk to each other and don't mess us about."

He added: "I do wonder at times, [what] did I go to the inquiry for if it's going to get halted?"

It is understood the First and deputy First Minister have held talks to resolve the situation.

UUP leader Mike Nesbitt, who chairs the OFDMDFM committee, said they had discussed the issue with the leaders in recent weeks and had been given no reason to believe the inquiry would not receive the necessary funding.

He commented: "It's a very easy thing to do, it just takes the five parties of the executive to sit down and agree to ring-fence £4m - 0.004% of the entire Northern Ireland Executive budget."

© UTV News
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5 Comments
Concerned in Woodvale wrote (150 days ago):
Funds should be attained so that no child or vulnerable person will ever be abused again , why pour money into a bottomless pit called the past .
have a nice day. . in Derry wrote (150 days ago):
Peter how many times have you used that card if you don't do this!! This will happen. ..so the L.D doing a u.turn on welfare reform they NO it doesn't work. .
Jim in Southern Ireland wrote (150 days ago):
With all the disagreements going on between the political parties, how on earth are the institutions of N.I. still up and running? Threats, insults, lack of progress since 1998. Issues still outstanding after all this time? People in power getting all the perks and victims having to use the begging bowl? I've seen more co-operation from people across the divide that makes the people of N.I stand head and shoulders above the rest of these two islands at times, (and yet they still have serious and contentious issues) but they get on with it as best as the situation allows, and it's a credit to them. The people of N.I voted you in, no one else, and politicians need to respect that people have an expectation for you to deliver, and you're not. Ye need to catch yourselves on. DHL delivers better for a fraction of the costs and people are more satisfied. It's no wonder people are becoming dissatisfied, they're not getting what they voted for. So regardless of the political party you're involved in, if you're elected, do your elected job; and if you can't deliver, do the decent thing and hand back your salaries. You're not earning it when victims have to lie awake at night wondering if they are going to be supported of not.
Issy in rangeoitsell wrote (150 days ago):
Totally insensitive towards the victims. Is this Peter Robinson playing politics at the expense of causing yet more distress to persons who have already suffered enough?? Me thinks the funding was never in jeopardy. Whatever is going on between the main parties should not be allowed to detract from such a serious and sensitive matter.
Dorothy in Kansas wrote (150 days ago):
Peter Robinson seems to spend a lot of time backing away from his pronouncements, would he care to back away from his pronouncement that he is a capable person to be First Minister.
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