Inquiry on child abuse turns to Catholic-run group of homes

Sir Anthony Hart

Sir Anthony Hart

A long-running child abuse public inquiry will focus on alleged wrongdoing at institutions run by the Good Shepherd Sisters when it reconvenes next week.

Former residents of facilities in Belfast, Londonderry and Newry are expected to give evidence during the next two weeks of public hearings at Banbridge Courthouse in Co Down.

Proceedings will begin on Monday with a short opening from inquiry chairman Sir Anthony Hart, a retired High Court judge.

Barrister and counsel to the inquiry Joseph Aiken will then provide an overview of matters relating to the institutions run by the Good Shepherd Sisters.

The Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry was set up by the Northern Ireland Executive in 2013 to examine harrowing allegations of physical, emotional and sexual abuse at state and church run residential institutions between 1922 and 1995.

By the time it concludes public evidence sessions this summer, more than 450 witnesses will have provided oral testimony.

Sir Anthony is expected to submit his findings to MLAs at Stormont by early next year.

The other members of the inquiry are Geraldine Doherty, a former head of the Central Council for Education and Training in Social Work in Scotland, and David Lane, who was director of social services in Wakefield, West Yorkshire, England.