This is a very worrying time for victims; for those who suffered throughout the Troubles and for those who are suffering even in this relatively peaceful time because of their injuries and, in most cases, because of their loss. The pension, when it was announced, was a massive step forward for innocent victims. I urge the Secretary of State to stand by the legislation that was passed at Westminster to fund the pension. It is terrible that those deserving people are being let down again. I urge the Government to release the funding.
The Northern Ireland Civil Service should administer the pension, but, surely ,the scheme should be funded from Westminster, as that is where the legislation was passed. Of course, innocent victims go right across the United Kingdom and the British Isles. The pension criteria apply to those who were injured through no fault of their own, and the pension was to be backdated to 23 December 2014. The legislation was in place long before the New Decade, New Approach deal, and those victims who are suffering were suffering during the years of direct rule. There is no doubt in my mind that the pensions must be administered and that the victims who have lost and have been hurt deserve this. Let us face it, for all that it is, the pension will never ever recoup the loss that they have felt.
It must be mentioned that there is a party opposite that was the political wing of the IRA, which caused so many of those victims. To hear its members speak in the media and demand that the British Government pay for their evil and for the cause, harm and pain that they dealt out to those innocent victims, is quite galling.