Child abuse victims urge Archbishop Eamon Martin to set aside compensation money

Sad child
Sad child

Victims of child abuse at residential homes in Northern Ireland have urged the head of the Catholic Church in Ireland to set aside money for compensation.

Archbishop Eamon Martin met campaigners in Armagh on Tuesday.

The Historical Institutional Abuse (HIA) inquiry is due to report to the Executive next January and could recommend a pay-out for survivors.

Margaret McGuckin from Survivors and Victims of Institutional Abuse said: “It is the responsibility of the Northern Ireland Executive to set up a redress scheme for victims of institutional abuse here, but the Catholic Church and religious orders which ran homes where we were abused have a moral and financial responsibility to victims.

“We have asked the Archbishop to tell Executive ministers that the Church stands ready to contribute significant funds to a government-run redress scheme.

“Other organisations, private or public, which ran homes where abuse took place bear a similar responsibility.”

The Sisters of Nazareth congregation is among religious orders which have already admitted physical abuse and apologised.

Jon McCourt from Survivors North West said: “Nothing will make up for the damage done to us when we were children, but financial redress is one way for the Church, religious orders and government to say ‘sorry’ for what was done to us and so many others.

“Moral leadership requires not just an acknowledgement of past failings, but a willingness in the here and now to try to make good the harm that was done.”