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Child abuse commissioner appointed in NI

Fiona Ryan will take up the position for a five-year term from December.

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A commissioner for survivors of institutional child abuse has been appointed (Niall Carson/PA)

A commissioner for survivors of institutional child abuse has been appointed (Niall Carson/PA)

A commissioner for survivors of institutional child abuse has been appointed (Niall Carson/PA)

A commissioner for survivors of institutional child abuse has been appointed.

Fiona Ryan will take up the position for a five-year term from December.

Stormont First Minister Arlene Foster said: “This is a significant appointment and I wish Fiona well in what will be an important and sensitive role.

“Even against the backdrop of a pandemic, work has progressed on historical institutional abuse and the redress scheme opened in March.

“Victims have had to endure so much already and we have always been determined not to compound this hurt with undue delays.”

The Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry (HIAI) was set up in May 2012 to investigate allegations of abuse in 22 institutions between 1922 to 1995.

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The late former High Court judge Sir Anthony Hart chaired the public inquiry and recommended that a commissioner be appointed (HIA/PA)

The late former High Court judge Sir Anthony Hart chaired the public inquiry and recommended that a commissioner be appointed (HIA/PA)

PA

The late former High Court judge Sir Anthony Hart chaired the public inquiry and recommended that a commissioner be appointed (HIA/PA)

The late former High Court judge Sir Anthony Hart chaired the public inquiry and recommended that a commissioner be appointed.

Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill said historical institutional abuse has left a legacy of pain and suffering, and its victims were the young and vulnerable.

“We cannot change the past, nor right its wrongs, but we can shape the future.

“In welcoming Fiona Ryan as Commissioner for Survivors of Institutional Childhood Abuse we are taking another significant step forward for victims.”

Cork-born Ms Ryan is chief executive of Sonas domestic violence charity, the largest provider of frontline support services to women and child victims of domestic abuse in Ireland.

She is a member of the monitoring committee of the National Strategy for Domestic, Sexual and Gender-based Violence in the Republic, where she advocates on behalf of victims and monitors government commitments to victims under the strategy.

She is also a member of the Department of Justice’s Study of Familicide and Domestic Homicide Reviews.

She holds a Masters in Journalism (MAJ) and a Masters in Business Administration (MBA).

PA