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Abuse in our child institutions to be probed

The Stormont Executive is moving towards setting up an inquiry into institutional child abuse in Northern Ireland.

Ministers discussed options for an inquiry at a meeting of the Executive yesterday.

It would follow damning inquiries south of the border that have lifted the lid on past clerical abuse scandals.

Stormont sources say a Northern Ireland inquiry would cover clerical-related cases but would not be restricted to this area.

Yesterday's discussions centred on an options paper tabled at the Executive by Health Minister Michael McGimpsey.

A number of other Stormont departments have responsibilities in the child protection field and their ministers will now respond individually to Mr McGimpsey's document.

Further discussions around the

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Executive table are anticipated and the indications are that a major inquiry will be ordered.

Sources say it was made clear at the Executive that abusers must face the full rigours of the law.

Any inquiry would inevitably have a cross-border dimension. There will be an expectation from ministers here that all relevant information will be shared by organisations, including the Catholic Church.

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