DOJ to administer Victims’ Pension

The Executive Office has designated the Department of Justice as the Department to exercise the administrative functions of the Victims’ Payments Board on the Board’s behalf under para 2(1) of Schedule 1 to the Victims’ Payments Regulations 2020.

The Office has also agreed to provide grants to the Department of Justice to establish the administrative arrangements for the scheme. This will allow the recruitment of Board members, IT developments, and other steps needed to establish the Board to proceed.

Justice Minister, Naomi Long said: “I regret that this case ever had to reach the courts, but welcome the judgement and am hopeful that the Executive can now move forward together to progress the delivery of a scheme to support those with serious physical and psychological injuries as a result of the Troubles.

“I have consistently said that I was content for my department to be designated to allow people to apply for the scheme and avoid any further delay and I welcome the announcement today that the designation will proceed.

“Preliminary work has already begun within my department to examine the practical details of implementation of the scheme and I am committed to our taking the scheme forward as quickly as possible.

“There will be a number of steps which need to be gone through before the scheme can open for applications, and before payments can commence: however, today’s developments mean work on the new scheme can be advanced in earnest. My officials will keep interested parties informed at each stage and of expected timelines as the work develops.

“Notwithstanding the judgement, it is clear that there remains a lack of political agreement over aspects of the scheme and, in particular, there is an urgent need to resolve the source of funding for the payments. I am absolutely clear that the UK Government has a critical role to play in this regard and am committed to working with the Secretary of State, Treasury and Executive Colleagues to ensure that the necessary funding is in place to support delivery of this important scheme for victims.”