Church 'cooperating' in abuse probe
The Catholic Church is committed to "fully cooperating" with the inquiry into child abuse, Cardinal Sean Brady has said.
The Irish primate and representatives of the religious orders have met institutional victims in Armagh. The official inquiry will consider allegations dating back to 1945.
Cardinal Brady said: "I wish to confirm that we believe the experiences the group shared with us and acknowledge its ongoing impact on their lives.
"We apologise wholeheartedly and without reservation for the abuse that they suffered as children. We remain committed to fully cooperating with the inquiry."
The Northern Ireland Survivors and Victims of Institutional Abuse group (Savia) said survivors would also be looking for legal safeguards to ensure disclosure of all relevant records.
Savia campaigned for the Northern Ireland Executive to hold an inquiry into historical institutional child abuse. Final preparations are being made by the Office of the First and Deputy First Minister and part of that process, allowing people to describe what happened to them in private, will begin within months.
The second part of the inquiry, the statutory process which may force people to attend hearings, involves a change in Northern Ireland's law, which will have to pass through the assembly, requiring more time.
The executive inquiry will include Catholic religious orders, state and voluntary groups. It follows lengthy judicial examinations of tales of endemic child abuse in the Irish Republic.
Cardinal Brady said the discussions with victims were wide-ranging. "They courageously and honestly shared the truth of their experiences with us and the long-term impact on their lives," he said.
Those present included the cardinal, Sister Marianne O'Connor, director general of the Conference of Religious of Ireland, and representatives of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd, Sisters of St Louis, Sisters of Mercy and Sisters of Nazareth.