SDLP Foyle MLA Sinéad McLaughlin has said it is regrettable that a formal apology for victims and survivors of historical institutional abuse (HIA) has taken five years from the publication of the Hart report.
She added that her thoughts were with victims and survivors.
The Executive Office Committee chair welcomed the announcement that victims and survivors would finally get their apology, while noting that a number of victims have passed on in the period since the recommendation was made.
Foyle MLA Ms McLaughlin said:
“It is deeply regrettable that it has taken five years from the publication of the Hart Report for victims and survivors of institutional abuse to finally be given a date for their formal apology. These recommendations were made in 2017 and if the Executive hadn’t been collapsed and kept from being restored this apology and the other HIA recommendations could have been implemented years ago. It’s shameful that victims and survivors were casualties of the political dysfunction that rules this place.
“In the time since the Hart Report was published a number of victims and survivors have sadly died – they will never get their apology and my thoughts are with their families today. My heart goes out to all those affected who have been failed so badly time after time and have had to fight for decades just to access the truth and justice they were entitled to.
“We must see a full and unequivocal apology not just from the Joint First Ministers, but the institutions who perpetrated this abuse. They should all also be apologising for the delay in giving the apology and compensation to victims. We have heard that for some survivors the apology will mean much more than any other redress measure, so it must be fitting and I welcome that engagement will take place with those affected before it's delivered.
“The Hart Report also recommended a memorial be established to victims and survivors of HIA and we are yet to hear any details about this. We need to see all the remaining recommendations from the HIA inquiry introduced as soon as possible, this process has dragged on far too long and those affected should not have to wait a day longer.”