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Hart Inquiry: Recommendations

Oral Answers to Questions — The Executive Office – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 2:30 pm on 3rd October 2016.

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Photo of Gerry Kelly Gerry Kelly Sinn Féin 2:30 pm, 3rd October 2016

T5. Mr Kelly asked the First Minister and deputy First Minister what plans they have in place to deal with the recommendations from the Hart inquiry. (AQT 260/16-21)

Photo of Arlene Foster Arlene Foster DUP

Indeed. As I understand it, Mr Justice Hart is writing his long-awaited judgement on the hearings that he listened to very empathetically in Banbridge courthouse. We look forward to receiving that judgement, we believe, early next year. We will, of course, give it due consideration.

Photo of Gerry Kelly Gerry Kelly Sinn Féin

Gabhaim buíochas as na freagraí go dtí seo. I thank the Minister for her answer. Does the First Minister believe that a panel of redress should be established to meet the needs of the victims and survivors of historical institutional abuse?

Photo of Arlene Foster Arlene Foster DUP

There have been many calls for a panel of redress, and I can understand why that is the case; not least the fact that the victims are not getting any younger, but we do not want to pre-judge what Mr Justice Hart will say in his judgement. He may well have decided — I do not know whether he has or not — which particular form the redress should take or what the process should be around it. He may, on the other hand, leave it up to us to decide what redress should happen. I do not want to pre-judge what Mr Justice Hart might say. I know that there are many victims who might want us to move ahead on this, but it is now October, and we expect the report in January or February of next year. I can assure people that, when we get the report, we will not sit on it; we will deal with the consequences of it as quickly as we can.