CSR Call for Immediate Implementation of Survivors Payment Scheme

The members of the Methodist Church's Council on Social Responsibility have issued the following Statement concerning the Survivors Payment Scheme.

Speaking on behalf of the Council, its Chair, the Rev. Dr. David Clements has said:

"The Methodist Church in Ireland is extremely disappointed and concerned about the failure to implement the necessary structures for the severely injured pension scheme. Just over a week before the Victims and Survivors Payment Scheme was due to open for applications on 29 May, we discover that not only would the scheme not be opening but that the structures set out in the regulations, passed into law in January 2020, to administer the scheme had not even been set up.

We recognize the extra strain on the system caused by the Covid-19 crisis and the dispute about which ‘pot of money’ these payments should come out of. 

These considerations in no way mitigate the failure to fulfill the legal obligations to set up the structures to implement this hard fought for recognition of those most severely injured during the Troubles.

The structures to set up the administration of the scheme were to be in place by 24 February this year, well before Covid-19 became an issue.

When the scheme was passed into law the time frame for getting it up and running was intentionally challenging. The people this scheme is designed to help do not have time on their side.   

Sadly, victims are all too familiar with being kicked about in a cynical game of political football.  Victims should never have been treated like this, that it has happened repeatedly, is a shame on all of us. 

We call upon the Executive Office, together with the Secretary of State, to immediately implement the structures necessary to make these long overdue payments to those severely injured during the troubles through no fault of their own.  

We all have responsibilities for dealing with the past and promoting healing and reconciliation. We as a church have our distinctive part to play, but we look to the Executive and the Secretary of State to set a good example by fulfilling their responsibilities to implement the legislation to provide these payments to the severely injured.  This is a time for the restoration of hope and confidence.  Let none of us be found wanting in our respective responsibilities."

 
ENDS
25.05.20

Issued by: Rev. Roy Cooper - Press Officer, The Methodist Church in Ireland

Tel: 07710945104