Northern Ireland

Karen Bradley has 'no power' to run government departments

HIA sign Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption The Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry was set up to examine allegations of child abuse in children's homes and other institutions

The secretary of state has no role in running NI's government departments, a judicial review has heard.

Tony McGleenan QC for the Secretary of State told the High Court that there is often a perception that Karen Bradley can tell departments what to do.

However, he said there is currently no means for her to do this.

He spoke at the second day of an inquiry looking into the failure to pay compensation to survivors of historical institutional abuse.

He told the High Court heard that due to the Good Friday Agreement, the secretary of state's role differed from the rest of the UK and the Northern Ireland Office holds no power to run the devolved government departments.

He added that any powers to do so would have to be legislated by Parliament.

Mr McGleenan told the High Court: "Parliament could have done it, have done it in the past, but has not done it now".

On Tuesday, counsel for the Executive Office Philip McAteer told the court there is no argument about whether or not the redress scheme should be implemented, it should but it must be done properly.

'Power approval or funding'

He said: "It isn't straightforward. It can't be done by the Executive Office alone. It doesn't have the power, approval or funding to do it."

The inquiry into abuse and neglect at children's homes run by religious orders and the state began public hearings in 2014.

In his report in 2017, inquiry chairman Sir Anthony Hart recommended compensation of between £7,500 and £100,000 should be paid to survivors.

Survivors have been waiting for two years for the compensation scheme, recommended by the HIA chairman Sir Anthony Hart , to be set up.

The hearing continues.

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