Sinn Féin denies govt claim it is stalling Troubles victims' pensions

Northern Irish (NI) political party, Sinn Féin, has denied reported claims from the UK government that it is responsible for holding up pension payments to victims of the Troubles.

A government source told the BBC that the NI party was responsible for the delay to the opening of the scheme for victims, which was due on 29 May, as it had refused to nominate a Stormont department to run the scheme.

However, when speaking on BBC Good Morning Ulster, Sinn Féin’s Gerry Kelly said that the UK government was to blame as it had brought in “discriminatory” rules that excluded victims that had served a prison sentence of two and a half year or more.

He stated: "It is the British government who have brought in these regulations, without consultation, to be discriminatory, and all they are interested in is to protect one section of victims."

Troubles victims’ pensions had also been delayed due to disputes over who would fund the scheme, which is expected to cost at least £100m over the first three years.

Sinn Féin argued that it should be funded by the UK government, rather than by Stormont.

As a result of the delay resulting from the funding disagreement, the victims of the Troubles had planned to begin legal action over the NI Executive’s failure to start the scheme, as planned in legislation signed in January.

Annuity payments for qualifying victims will range from £2,000 to £10,000 per year.

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