Abuse victims demand inquiry from Stormont Executive

The Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry campaign featuring advertising on bus shelters across Northern Ireland.
The Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry campaign featuring advertising on bus shelters across Northern Ireland.
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Northern Ireland victims of clerical child abuse and former residents of Magdalene Laundry-type institutions are coming together to call on the Stormont Executive to establish inquiries into their abuse allegations.

On Wednesday, Amnesty International will publish research setting out the case for independent and effective inquiries into allegations of abuse by victims who are not covered by the current Historic Institutional Abuse (HIA) inquiry.

Victims of clerical child sexual abuse and former residents of Magdalene Laundry-type institutions in Northern Ireland, not covered by the HIA inquiry, will call for an extension of the terms of reference of the inquiry or the establishment of a fresh inquiry into their allegations of abuse.

Two briefings papers from Amnesty International - one covering clerical child abuse and one covering abuse in Magdalene Laundry-type institutions inn Northern Ireland will be published.

Patrick Corrigan, Northern Ireland Programme Director of Amnesty International, said: “The research which Amnesty International publishes today makes a compelling case for an effective human rights response from the Northern Ireland Executive for both these groups of victims.

“Clerical abuse survivors and Magdalene Laundry survivors in Northern Ireland have told us they wish to see a proper, independent public inquiry.

“Victims of similar abuse in the Republic of Ireland have seen the government set up a number of inquiries and have seen their political leaders speak out on their behalf. However, in Northern Ireland, the Historic Institutional Abuse Inquiry specifically excludes victims of clerical abuse who were not residents of children’s homes, or victims in institutions who were aged 18 or over.

“Amnesty International supports the calls of victims for the Northern Ireland authorities to ensure that independent and thorough investigations are carried out into all such allegations of abuse, as well as the response of both church and State authorities to such abuse.”

Michael Connolly, who was a victim of clerical child sexual abuse in Fermanagh in the early 1970s, said: “The Northern Ireland inquiry into institutional child abuse is very welcome, but it does nothing for me and the many other victims of clerical abuse who were molested in locations outside children’s homes or who suffered as adult women in Magdalene Laundry-style homes. Our abuse was no less and our call for justice is no less deserving of being heard. We appeal to the Northern Ireland Executive to hear our call for justice and either widen the terms of the current inquiry or establish a separate parallel inquiry into such abuse.”