Executive Office Budget must take account of redress payments and legislative requirements, says Alliance TEO spokespeople

Alliance Party representatives Paula Bradshaw MLA and Connie Egan MLA have warned that the Executive Office Budget is not yet taking into account the need for redress payments from large institutions responsible for historical institutional abuse of children, and the requirements arising from legislation passed before restoration.

Paula Bradshaw Connie Egan TEO

This comes after yesterday (24 April)'s Executive Office Committee meeting, which focused on budgetary matters.
South Belfast MLA Paula Bradshaw, who is also Chair of the Executive Office Committee, said: "At yesterday's Committee we received a briefing on the budget from officials, but we were left unclear that sufficient money has been set aside to meet clearly evident requirements, such as the establishment of the three bodies necessary under the Identity and Language Act.
"This implies an ongoing delay in the recruitment and appointment of the relevant Commissioners under that Act, alongside the ongoing failure even to begin recruitment of posts such as the Commissioner for Victims and Survivors and the Commissioner for Public Appointments, as well as the ongoing absence of a Permanent Secretary since the last postholder resigned in September.
"It is vital that the First and deputy First Minister urgently assess budgetary priorities to ensure that legislative requirements and necessary recruitment processes can be undertaken imminently."
North Down MLA Connie Egan, who is Deputy Chair of the Committee added: "While we received some reassurance that the means of payment of meaningful contributions to redress and recognition for victims and survivors of historical institutional abuse of children by the institutions responsible is in place, it is concerning to hear that the largest religious orders still seem not even to have begun the process.
"With budgets tight, it is essential that money which must be paid for redress and recognition, not least to deliver public services which victims and survivors of abuse increasingly rely upon, is contributed quickly. If it is not forthcoming, the First and deputy First Minister must prepare legislation as an utmost priority to make clear that such payments are not a request, but a demand."