Date set for opening of Troubles pension scheme

The Executive Office has pledged to pay for the scheme.

The long-awaited Troubles pension scheme will open for applications from 30 June.

Mr Justice McAlinden, president of the victims' payment board which determines who is entitled for payment, made the announcement on Tuesday.

“I am delighted to announce that it is my intention that the Troubles Permanent Disablement Payments Scheme will open for applications from 30 June," he said.

"As president I have worked closely with the recently appointed board members and the team established by the Department of Justice to develop the administrative arrangements for the payment scheme.

"I have also held a number of constructive meetings with representatives from the main groups supporting the victims of the Troubles. This has helped to establish positive working relationships which should enable victims to have trust in the board.

"The many victims deserve the recognition and payments to which they are entitled."

Last month, Stormont's Executive Office formally pledged to pay for the scheme.

As part of the undertaking, the Department of Finance will make the necessary funding available to ensure eligible victims and survivors receive compensation.

The confirmation brought an end to a long-running legal battle about who should cover the potential cost of up to £1.2bn.

Welcoming the announcement, Justice Minister Naomi Long said: “I have said from the outset, when I agreed that my department could be designated to administer the scheme, that I shared the frustration of those who have been waiting for delivery of this important scheme and that we would do everything in our power to move things forward.

“Much progress has been made since then and I am grateful to the President and members of the Victims’ Payments Board for their commitment to make the scheme operational.

“Victims and survivors of the Troubles have waited a long time for this scheme and today’s announcement is an important milestone on what has been a long and painful journey for many.”