Belfast Telegraph

Two years to establish Northern Ireland clerical abuse probe

An inquiry that forces paedophile priests to give evidence could take up to two years to set up, the First Minister has said.

Most victims want a statutory probe with full powers to compel witnesses but there may be a long delay, Peter Robinson said.

The Executive is considering ordering an investigation into the extent of child abuse in Catholic Church and State-run institutions in Northern Ireland.

It followed the Ryan Report that uncovered decades of abuse in some institutions in the Republic.

Mr Robinson told the Assembly: "If we have to bring forward legislation it could be 18 months to two years before we would be proceeding."

He said there was a possibility of combining some statutory and non-statutory elements.

Junior Ministers Martina Anderson and Jonathan Bell have met officials responsible for historic abuse inquiries in the Republic and Scotland.

The Executive Taskforce on Historical Institutional Abuse held meetings in Armagh, Belfast and Londonderry in March.

The Executive announced in December it would hold an inquiry and the taskforce is considering what its nature should be.

Belfast Telegraph

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