Liam Kennedy: Another child abuse scandal needs an inquiry – paramilitary attacks on young people

The abuse of children by paramilitary organisations, loyalist and republican, has disfigured this society since 1970
The abuse of children by paramilitary organisations, loyalist and republican, has disfigured this society since 1970
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The local elections are upon us and it is time to focus on policy initiatives that could make a real difference.

All the better if they can command cross-community support.

Letter to the editor

Letter to the editor

Most people, including the political parties, have agreed that inquiring into clerical child sexual abuse and making provision to help the victims are thoroughly good things.

There is another child abuse scandal that has disfigured this society since 1970. It is the abuse of children by paramilitary organisations, both loyalist and republican.

At this stage, there are hundreds and hundreds of these mutilated victims.

Their voices have rarely been heard and their special needs as victims have not been recognised.

In a year that so far has been marked by political disappointments of all kinds, would it not be wonderful if one or more of the political parties did the courageous thing, came out and proposed a commission of enquiry into the paramilitary abuse of children.

Such an enquiry might perhaps be modelled on the clerical sex abuse commissions rather than the more expensive judicial enquiries.

It would be one ray of light in the lives of some of the most vulnerable in our society and a milestone along the way to dealing with our troubled past.

Liam Kennedy, Emeritus Professor QUB, BT7