SDLP Deputy Leader Nichola Mallon has welcomed political agreement around the delivery of an apology to victims and survivors of historical institutional abuse (HIA).
SDLP Minister Ms Mallon will deliver the apology along with Ministers representing the Executive’s other four main parties.
Ms Mallon said it was deeply regrettable such an accommodation was necessary following the DUP’s decision to remove Paul Givan as First Minister, but she was determined to do everything within her power to ensure victims and survivors received a fitting apology.
North Belfast MLA Ms Mallon said:
“This long-awaited apology should have been delivered by the Joint First Ministers, victims and survivors of HIA have spent years campaigning for their hurt to be recognised and it would have meant the most and carried the most significance coming from the Joint First Ministers.
“Due to the DUP’s selfishness the apology to victims and survivors was thrown into uncertainty. Along with party colleagues I met with those affected and it was heartbreaking to hear the anguish caused by the prospect of being promised an apology only to have it ripped away from them. These are people who have been through some of the most difficult experiences imaginable and the DUP should be ashamed that they compounded that hurt.
“When I met victims and survivors I told them I would do everything within my power to ensure that the apology would take place and I’m glad that we were able to reach an agreement at the party leaders meeting today. While I remain deeply disappointed that victims and survivors will not receive the apology they were promised, I will be honoured to play my part in delivering the apology. Nothing will ever make up for what they have been through, but I hope this will go some way to help them on their long campaign for truth and justice.”