Belfast Telegraph

A man of great integrity with an unflinching pursuit of the truth: Tributes to Abuse inquiry chair Sir Anthony Hart

Sir Anthony Hart
Sir Anthony Hart

The chairman of the historical abuse inquiry Sir Anthony Hart, has died suddenly, it has been announced.

Sir Anthony was a well known and respected high court judge in Northern Ireland.

More recently he led The Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry. It examined allegations of abuse and mistreatment at 22 homes and other residential institutions between 1922 and 1995 at children homes ran by some churches, charities and state institutions.

He recommended a compensations scheme for victims, a memorial and a public apology be made in his 2017 report.

Tony - as he was known was described as a "strong but gentle Christian believer".  He was a regular worshipper in St Mark’s Dundela, where he served in many roles.

He was also chancellor of the Diocese of Down and Dromore, and assessor at the most recent Diocesan Synod on June 20.

Bishop of Down and Dromore, the Rt Revd Harold Miller said: "It was a pleasure and privilege to know Tony. He served the Lord, the church and the community with faithfulness and integrity, with humility and firmness. He will be greatly missed. Our comfort is in knowing that he is in the closer presence of his Lord.”

Head of the Civil Service, David Sterling said he was a "hugely respected figure in NI and a man of great integrity with an unflinching pursuit of the truth".

"Qualities he demonstrated as Chair of the Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry, he said.

"Heartfelt sympathies to Sir Anthony’s family."

Marty Adams of the Survivors Together group, who was abused at Rathgael Training School in Bangor, said he is "very saddened" at the news of Sir Anthony's sudden death.

"Victims of historical abuse are very thankful and grateful for the help and support he gave to victims during his public inquiry," he said.

"It was Sir Anthony who believed in victims and it was Sir Anthony who delivered the truth when others failed.

"We offer our sincere condolences to his family circle at this sad time."

The leader of the UUP Robin Swann MLA, also expressed his sadness at the death of Sir Anthony.

“I am deeply sorry to hear of the passing of Sir Anthony Hart.  Under his leadership, the Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry was critical in providing recognition to the suffering of victims and survivors who had waited for their story to be heard for most of their lives.

“His commitment to helping victims of historical institutional abuse and the light he shone on what took place is something we owe him a great deal of gratitude for.  I pass on my condolences to his family at this deeply difficult and sad time.”

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