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Millisle Borstal becomes latest Northern Ireland institution to fall under spotlight of historical child abuse inquiry

Published 15/01/2016

Sir Anthony Hart will chair the inquiry
Sir Anthony Hart will chair the inquiry

The Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry (HIA) will look into allegations of wrongdoing at the former Millisle Borstal on the Ards Pensinula when it convenes again next week.

HM Borstal Millisle, situated in Woburn House, Ballywalter Road, opened in July 1956 and closed in December 1980. The Prison Service College now operates on the site.

Former residents of the facility are expected to give evidence during two weeks of public sessions at Banbridge Courthouse.

Proceedings will begin with a short opening from retired High Court judge Sir Anthony Hart, who is chairing the long-running probe, before barrister Joseph Aiken, counsel to the inquiry, gives an overview of the issues relating to Millisle.

The HIA is considering harrowing claims of emotional, physical and sexual abuse at 22 institutions in Northern Ireland over a 73-year period - from 1922 when the state was founded to 1995.

It is also looking into alleged actions at homes run by the state and church, and last November an extra six institutions were added to its remit.

The inquiry was established by Northern Ireland's power-sharing ministerial Executive and is expected to make recommendations on how to compensate victims.

In total, some 300 witnesses are expected to give evidence during the public sessions.

Investigative work is due to be completed by mid summer and the inquiry will submit its report to ministers next January.

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