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Head of Catholic church in Ireland apologises to child abuse victims

The head of the Catholic church in Ireland said he apologised unreservedly to all those who fell victim to abuse in church-run homes.

Archbishop Eamon Martin said the church had to now demonstrate it was serious about making reparation for the sins of the past.

His apology was replicated by a number of religious orders that ran homes where abuse occurred.

Archbishop Martin said: "I apologise unreservedly to all those who suffered from their experience in church-run institutions, and to their loved ones. They have given details for all to see of emotional, physical and sexual abuse. Their story is one of anxiety, isolation and pain."

He added: "It is totally understandable that those abused may find it hard to forgive or find reconciliation with the church. But we in the church must do everything we can to submit to the demands of justice and demonstrate that we are serious about making reparation for the sins and crimes of the past."

Sister Cora McHale from the Sisters of Nazareth order, Ireland, said: "This report is a very comprehensive work and it will now consider all the matters raised and the recommendations made.

"We again apologise to anyone who has suffered abuse, whether psychological, physical, sexual or neglect, on any occasion when the sisters' standard of care fell below what was expected of them.

"It was always the desire of the order to provide a safe place for children and when we failed on any occasion, we want to express our deepest regret."

She added: "We will now fully reflect on the contents of the report and make a considered response to the new Executive on the implementation of the recommendations."

A statement from the De La Salle Brothers said: "First and foremost, we the Brothers wish to reiterate publicly what we said to the Inquiry on 15th January 2014: We accept and deeply regret that boys in our care were abused.

"We offer our sincere and unreserved apology to all those whom we failed to protect.

"The De La Salle Order has previously acknowledged that some of its members and lay staff abused innocent victims whilst at Rubane Boys' Home or St Patrick's Training School.

"That some Brothers abused boys in their care was in total contradiction of their vocations as De la Salle Brothers and of their mission as established by our founder, namely to look after the welfare and educational needs of deprived, vulnerable and abandoned children."

It added: "We wish also to thank the panel members for their diligence in carrying out an enormous task."

The Irish Norbertines said: "The Irish Norbertines recognise the tragic harm and hurt caused to innocent children by Brendan Smyth, a deceased member of our community, as outlined in the report, published today.

"We again unreservedly apologise most sincerely for the hurt and harm caused to so many young people, while also accepting that our management of the man concerned and the accusations presented to us was grossly inadequate."

The Sisters of St Louis said: "We are saddened that any child suffered while under our care at the former St Joseph's Training School, Middletown, and we offer a heartfelt apology.

"We appreciate how difficult it must have been for the eight former residents to come forward to tell their stories and hope that the conclusions of the inquiry will bring healing and hope to their lives.

"The Sisters of St Louis will consider the full report, its findings and deliberations and will work with The Executive Office of the Northern Ireland Assembly in addressing the recommendations in the report."

The Diocese of Down and Connor said: "The Diocese of Down and Connor apologises wholeheartedly, unconditionally and unreservedly to all those who have suffered abuse and carried the legacy of such appalling experiences from childhood as a result of any failing on the part of a representative of this diocese."

The Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd said: "We apologise unreservedly to those former residents whose care fell short of what they needed and deserved."

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