Abuse inquiry extended to investigate paedophile priest and three more institutions

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Northern Ireland’s public inquiry in to child abuse is to investigate three more state-run institutions, the chairman said.

The Historical Institutional Abuse (HIA) inquiry has extended its work to cover Hydebank Young Offenders Centre in south Belfast and former homes at Fort James and Harberton House, Londonderry.

Another section will focus on issues arising from the actions of paedophile priest Brendan Smyth, a serial child molester who frequented some Catholic residential homes, according to HIA chairman Sir Anthony Hart.

He is heading what was the UK’s largest probe into child abuse and has been investigating homes run by religious orders of nuns and brothers.

Sir Anthony said: “Today we wish to announce that we are adding three more institutions to the list, and one individual, bringing the total of homes and matters to be investigated to 18.

“Fort James and Harberton House, both statutory homes in Londonderry, will be dealt with together in module five, which will take place next month.

“It will be followed by module six, which will examine issues arising from the actions of Fr Brendan Smyth in a number of homes in Northern Ireland, actions which have been described by a number of witnesses who have already given evidence to the Inquiry.”