122235 - Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry (Answered)

Lady Hermon
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, what plans she has to implement the recommendations of the Hart Report of 20 January 2017 on compensation for victims and survivors of historical institutional abuse in Northern Ireland; and if she will make a statement.

Mr Shailesh Vara

This Government has always been very clear in its outright condemnation of any form of abuse of children. Any tolerance by people in positions of authority of such activity by others is abhorrent.

The Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry was established by the Executive and responsibility for implementing Sir Anthony Hart’s recommendations falls to the devolved administration. My Right Honourable Friend, James Brokenshire MP, was very clear that in the absence of an Executive, he would not interfere in devolved matters in Northern Ireland except to the extent that it is absolutely necessary to do so in order to allow public administration to continue and public services to be maintained. Decisions on the direction of devolved public policy are best taken by the elected representatives of the Northern Ireland population. It was those representatives who set up the HIA Inquiry and they are best placed to consider how to implement it.

While Northern Ireland Office Ministers start work with the Northern Ireland parties on the restoration of the Executive the above still stands.

Northern Ireland Office Ministers assure you we understand and recognise the strength of feeling and frustration around the lack of progress in responding to Sir Anthony's recommendations due to the lack of a functioning Executive. We acknowledge and welcome the detailed preparatory work being undertaken by the Executive Office, and are aware David Sterling, Head of the Northern Ireland Civil Service, has invited victims and survivors to a briefing in relation to this on 30 January. We would welcome a meeting with victims and survivors after they have been briefed by David Sterling.

Progressing the implementation of the Hart recommendations is one of the many reasons we remain determined to get a Northern Ireland Executive back up and running as soon as possible. We continue to urge the Northern Ireland parties to seek urgent resolution to restore the Executive.