SDLP Legacy Spokesperson Dolores Kelly MLA has said that the Joint First Ministers have an obligation to set out how they intend to improve the lives of victims and survivors who have been let down time and again by indecision and delay from political leaders.
The Upper Bann MLA was speaking as the High Court received a commitment from Ministers that pension payments will be made to eligible applicants in spite of an ongoing row over the contribution to be made by the British Government.
Dolores Kelly MLA said:
“I welcome the commitment made by Ministers in the High Court today that honours the political agreement to deliver a victims pension. People who have suffered severe physical and mental injury over the course of conflict here have waited for far too long for recognition and redress.
“There will be many victims and survivors today who will be wary of accepting the word of politicians, however. The failure of political leaders to design and implement a scheme more than two decades after the Good Friday Agreement has left survivors understandably exhausted and vigilant against false hope.
“The Joint First Ministers should set out how they will meet the needs of victims and survivors, the bereaved and all those who have suffered lost. Providing support to those who have lived with the physical and psychological scars of conflict should be a unifying ambition of the Executive. It is in the common interests of everyone we represent, from all communities, to heal the wounds of our past, meet the needs of survivors and help build a more united future.”