More than £26 million has been paid out to survivors of historical institutional abuse, Northern Ireland’s First Minister has said.

Paul Givan said by October the Historical Institutional Abuse redress board had received 2,100 applications.

He also told MLAs that the delivery of an apology to survivors “remains a priority”.

Some survivors have raised concern around the process of applying for compensation, saying it risks re-traumatising those who suffered abused in residential homes run by religious orders and the state.

Mr Givan said he met with the president of the board Judge Huddleston last week to discuss issues raised by survivors, and agreed the terms of reference for a review of the process, which he added will commence “in the next few weeks”.

Pictures of the Northern Ireland Executive Ministers
First Minister Paul Givan (Liam McBurney/PA)

The organisations which ran the homes, including Barnardo’s, the De La Salle Order, Sisters of Nazareth, Sisters of St Louis, the Good Shepherd Sisters and the Irish Church Missions, have been pressed to contribute towards the compensation payments.

Mr Givan said the Executive Office held a roundtable discussion with the organisations last month around contributions.

“The delivery of an apology to victims and survivors remains a priority,” he told MLAs during Executive Office questions in the Assembly on Monday.

“We are giving consideration to the format and content of the apology, including how the review of the redress process might impact the delivery of the apology.

“Ministerial and official level engagement with representative groups is ongoing.

“We are determined victims and survivors will receive the acknowledgement, support and redress that they deserve, and we remain committed to the implementation of all the recommendations in the Hart Report.”

The payments were a key recommendation from the Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry, which examined allegations of child abuse at 22 residential institutions run by religious, charitable and state organisations across Northern Ireland over a 73-year period.