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Question

261. Deputy Patrick Costello asked the Minister for Justice further to Parliamentary Question No. 91 of 9 December 2020, the formal funding mechanisms available from the State, not at EU level, for victims of the Troubles here since the ending of the Remembrance Commission in 2008. [43622/20]

Answer

Minister for Justice (Deputy Helen McEntee): As the deputy is aware, this Government is deeply conscious of the enduring suffering and hardship that survivors of Troubles-related attacks bear. The Government has always sought to acknowledge and address the legitimate needs and expectations of victims’ families and survivors of Troubles-related attacks in this jurisdiction.
A substantive measure in this regard was the establishment of the Remembrance Commission in 2003, to administer a Scheme of acknowledgment, assistance and remembrance for victims of the Northern Ireland conflict, and their families, in this jurisdiction. The Commission continued in this work until 2008 and administered Acknowledgement payments, Economic Hardship payments, Displacement payments and Medical payments for victims’ families and those who were seriously injured in Troubles-related incidents in this jurisdiction. The Remembrance Commission also funded memorials such as the one in Belturbet.
On the conclusion of the Commission's term of appointment, special arrangements were put in place to ensure that victims resident in the jurisdiction who require ongoing medical treatment for injuries sustained in bombings and other incidents arising from the Troubles may have these costs reimbursed through the Victims of Crime Office of my Department. This scheme continues to this day.
The Criminal Injuries Compensation Tribunal makes awards to people who have suffered an injury sustained within the State on or after 1st October, 1972. The tribunal considers applications from people who suffer a personal injury or death as a result of a crime of violence. Ex gratia compensation may be awarded on the basis of any vouched out of pocket expenses, including loss of earnings experienced by the victim or, if the victim has died as a result of the incident, by the dependents of the victim.
The Reconciliation Fund, operated by the Department of Foreign Affairs, was established in 1982 to support civil society organisations in creating a better understanding between people and traditions on the island of Ireland, and also between Ireland and Britain. One of the key thematic pillars under which funding is awarded is the repairing of those issues which lead to division, conflict, and barriers to a deeply reconciled and peaceful society. In that context, the Reconciliation Fund provides grant support to organisations working with victims and survivors of the Troubles, where it is considered that proposed projects have the potential to promote reconciliation in line with the particular eligibility criteria of the Fund.
Irish Departments have also provided co-funding for projects under the PEACE III programme (2007-2013), and, currently, under the PEACE IV programme (2014-2020). The North South PEACE IV Programme is co-funded by the EU and Government Departments in Ireland and Northern Ireland and it aims to support peace and reconciliation in Northern Ireland and the border counties of Ireland. Funding of €17.6m under PEACE IV is provided for the Victims and Survivors Service project which aims to improve the health and well-being of victims and survivors and to support marginalised individuals and communities that that have suffered as a result of the Troubles. This action is delivered by the Victims and Survivors Services in Northern Ireland which provides funding supports to organisations to employ Health and Wellbeing Case Managers, Health and Wellbeing Caseworkers, Advocacy Case Managers, Advocacy Caseworkers for victims and survivors irrespective of their place of residence.