The Pope’s visit to Ireland is an opportunity to end the cover-up of abuse, Sinn Fein’s vice-president has said.
Michelle O’Neill will not be able to attend any of this weekend’s events after she broke her leg in an accident.
She recognised the visit’s significance for all Catholics.
“We must specifically acknowledge the damage done by the Catholic Church to the lives of many women and children in the mother and baby homes, the Magdalene laundries and a succession of abuse scandals and cover-ups.
“The visit of Pope Francis is an opportunity to address these issues, to meet with victims and survivors, to fully acknowledge their suffering and the damage done, to end the cover-ups and to commit to full redress, north and south.”
Newry and Armagh Assembly member Conor Murphy will deputise for the party’s vice-president at this weekend’s events.
Mrs O’Neill added: “The visit of Pope Francis can and should contribute to the new and positive relationship which has been developing between the Irish state and the Catholic Church.”