Belfast Telegraph

Monday 21 April 2014

Clerical abuse victims seek a Ryan-style inquiry in Northern Ireland

Hundreds of child abuse victims in Northern Ireland have demanded a full inquiry into the mistreatment they suffered in institutions run by the Catholic Church and the state.

The victims have called for a major investigation similar to the Ryan Report that catalogued abuse by Catholic clergy in the Republic. The unprecedented call for an inquiry was first revealed by the Belfast Telegraph earlier this month.

A lawyer for the victims said they suffered sexual and physical abuse in cases dating back to the 1940s, but believed they have been discriminated against since inquiries in the South of Ireland did not extend to Northern Ireland.

Solicitor Joe Rice said he had written to First Minister Peter Robinson and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness detailing the demand for an inquiry into child abuse here over the last 70 years.

“We have instructions from a significant number of clients who have been, and are, the victims of abuse, whether sexual, emotional, physical or through neglect, in numerous church and state-run institutions in Northern Ireland since 1947,” the victims' letter read.

Earlier this year the Ryan Report into child abuse at institutions run by Catholic religious orders in the Republic found that sexual, physical and emotional abuse was endemic.

A major report into abuse in the Dublin archdiocese of the Catholic Church is also due to be published.

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