Belfast Telegraph

Monday 21 April 2014

Church abuse didn't stop at the border

The victims of clerical child-abuse in the North rightly deserve a full apology from the Catholic Church and also a full and rigorous public investigation by an independent body similar to that carried out in the arch-diocese of Dublin through the Murphy report.

Clerical child-abuse did not stop at the border. That is why the victims who suffered in the North over decades at the hands of their clerical abusers must be given the same respect, dignity and justice as those victims in the South.

It is only right now that the Executive issues an apology on behalf of the Northern Ireland Government and follow the lead of their Southern counterparts.

They should acknowledge the failure of the state for failing in their duty of care for children abused and for not properly investigating clerical child-abuse within the Church-run institutions who were responsible for children.

As for the Catholic hierarchy in the North, if they are to have any credibility, a root-and-branch investigation needs to be the top priority - not simply for the good of the Catholic Church, but to bring some sense of closure to the forgotten clerical child-abuse victims in the North.

PATRICK CLARKE

Dundrum, Co Down

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