Abuse inquiry to begin Fort James, Harberton House hearings

Sir Anthony Hart. chairman of the Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry.

Sir Anthony Hart. chairman of the Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry.

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The Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry will next week begin hearing oral evidence on two state run institutions in Derry.

The inquiry has already investigated St Joseph’s Boys’ Home, Termonbacca, and Nazareth House Children’s Home at Bishop Street in the city.

Now, Fort James Children Home at Ardmore and Harberton House Assessment Centre in Irish Street in the city’s Waterside are to be examined.

Both establishments were controlled by the former Western Health and Social Services Board and have since closed.

Oral hearings focusing on the institutions will commence at the former Banbridge Courthouse on Monday morning (10 a.m.).

These will be preceded by opening statements by inquiry chairman, Sir Anthony Hart, and Christine Smith QC, senior counsel to the inquiry.

The HIA inquiry was set up in 2013 to investigate child abuse in residential institutions in Northern Ireland over a 73-year period, up to 1995.

In total, the inquiry is expected to hear from more than 300 witnesses during the course of the public evidence sessions.

It is required to complete its hearings and all investigative work by mid-summer 2016, and has to submit its report to the Northern Ireland Executive by January 17, 2017.