Troubles Victims: Pension

Part of Matter of the Day – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 10:45 am on 26th May 2020.

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Photo of Rachel Woods Rachel Woods Green 10:45 am, 26th May 2020

I thank the Member for bringing the matter to the Chamber and giving me the opportunity to speak. I share the concerns about the process failing to be up and running as promised. It was supposed to launch at the end of May. The delay to the opening of the pension application is yet another harsh setback for the victims. The lack of clarity on who will fund the scheme is stalling the process again. That represents another setback for the very people whom it is for, not to mention the scheme's inclusion in the 'New Decade, New Approach' document, the agreements made and the commitments given. As others have said, this is not new. The pension was agreed in 2014 and signed into legislation in January.

I echo the call of colleagues in the Chamber: we need answers from Executive Ministers, from the First Minister and deputy First Minister. I urge them to attend the Chamber to take our questions and give us some solid answers. What conversations have happened with Westminster? What of the Secretary of State? What conversations have happened with the various Departments and Ministers here about the setting up of the structures? Why is no clarification being given to anybody? For years, many have said that they would do all that they could and that there was a determination to get this through: let us see it. Let us see the determination to get it sorted for the sake of victims. I expect that a quick resolution of the matter is to be found with the Executive and the Treasury. Promises were made: it is absolutely time to deliver. Otherwise, our post-conflict political system will yet again fail to assist the very people who have suffered and suffered greatly.