Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 30 August 2014

Abuse victims to demand inquiry

Clerical abuse victim Andrew Madden will speak at the Amnesty International meeting in Belfast next month

Clerical child sex abuse victims from across Ireland are to demand an independent inquiry at a conference in Belfast.

The Amnesty International meeting on October 7 will bring together campaigners, counsellors and politicians.

Among the speakers will be Andrew Madden, who in 1995 became the first clerical abuse victim to go public in Ireland, and Bernadette Fahy, who experienced abuse at Goldenbridge orphanage in Dublin and went on to found the Aislinn Centre for survivors of institutional abuse.

Also addressing the conference will be Norah Gibbons and Marian Shanley, members of the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse, which produced the Ryan Report and found that institutional child abuse in the Republic of Ireland was "endemic and widespread".

The report accused the Irish government and religious orders of failing to protect children or properly investigate complaints.

Amnesty's Northern Ireland programme director Patrick Corrigan said: "Amnesty is very focused on the need for long overdue justice for the many children - now adults - who suffered abuse in institutions in Northern Ireland.

"The need for an independent, impartial and effective inquiry into this historical abuse now rests with the Northern Ireland Executive for decision."

First Minister Peter Robinson and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness said they wish to deal with the matter quickly and effectively. They met the victims earlier this year.

Margaret McGuckin, spokeswoman for the Survivors and Victims of Institutional Abuse group, welcomed the conference. "This event demonstrates that we are becoming more organised and that we have people like Amnesty International on our side. That says that we are not going away and we are not going to give up our fight for justice," she said.

"We want more people to join us in our campaign and for more victims and survivors to come forward to tell their stories and be ready to deal with an inquiry."

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