Abuse Inquiry reports to McGuinness and Foster

The chairman of the Historical Abuse Inquiry Sir Anthony Hart has thanked those who came forward to give evidence.

Friday, 6th January 2017, 4:20 pm
Updated Wednesday, 11th January 2017, 4:00 am
Sir Anthony Hart Chairman of the Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry. (Picture By : Arthur Allison Pacemaker)

He was speaking as the Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry submitted its findings to Arlene Foster and Martin McGuinness on Friday, ahead of the report being made public on Friday, January 20.

The handing over of the report to the First and Deputy First Ministers prior to its general publication was a requirement under the Historical Institutional Abuse Act (Northern Ireland) 2013.

In delivering his Report, Sir Anthony Hart said: “I want to thank everyone who came forward to tell us of their experiences as I know how hard it was for many to find the courage to do so.

“I also want to thank all those who worked with the Inquiry in a co-operative way, and by doing so helped my colleagues and myself to complete our Report on time.”

The Report will be formally published on January 20, following a statement by the Chairman, Sir Anthony Hart at a public meeting in the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Shaws Bridge, Belfast.

In it he will detail the findings of the statutory inquiry panel and its recommendations on several matters, as specified in the Inquiry’s Terms of Reference.

These include the issue of an apology, by whom and the nature of the apology.

It will also include the findings of institutional or state failings in their duties towards the children in their care and if these failings were systemic.

Recommendations as to an appropriate memorial or tribute to those who suffered abuse is also expected to be addressed, alongside the requirement or desirability for redress to be provided by the institution and/ or the Executive to meet the particular needs of victims.

The nature or level of any potential redress (financial or the provision of services) will be a matter that the Executive will discuss and agree following receipt of the Inquiry and Investigation Report.

The publication of the Report brings to a conclusion the Inquiry’s investigation into historical institutional abuse.

The Inquiry was formally established in January 2013 by the Northern Ireland Executive. Its remit was to investigate child abuse that occurred in residential institutions in Northern Ireland over a 73-year period from 1922 to 1995.

Public hearings in the former Banbridge Courthouse opened on 13 January 2014 and concluded on Friday 8 July 2016. The Inquiry heard from 527 witnesses.

Of these, 246 were applicants who gave evidence in person and a further 87 applicants’ statements were read into the record.

A total of 22 institutions in Northern Ireland were investigated by the Inquiry in relation to allegations of historical institutional abuse and/or neglect and were the subject of the public hearings. In addition, the Inquiry investigated a small number of other homes or institutions where specific issues had been identified but these did not necessitate full-scale public hearings.

The homes or institutions investigated included St Joseph’s Home, Termonbacca and Nazareth House Children’s Home, in Derry.