Belfast Telegraph

Inquiry to investigate priest Brendan Smyth's sex abuse

By Deborah McAleese

The crimes of notorious paedophile priest Brendan Smyth are to be investigated by the Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry.

Three additional state-run institutions, including Hydebank Wood Young Offenders Centre, will also be examined, it was announced yesterday.

The team will focus on Belfast-born Smyth's serial abuse of young children while in the care of nuns in Northern Ireland.

In January the Catholic religious order, the Sisters of Nazareth, accepted that Smyth abused children living at their two south Belfast residential homes, Nazareth House and Nazareth Lodge.

The inquiry team has now decided to extend its remit to include issues arising from Smyth's actions. Evidence will be heard at the end of next month.

Smyth was at the centre of one of the first paedophile priest scandals to rock the Catholic Church in Ireland. He was convicted of dozens of offences against children over a 40-year period.

The disastrous handling of his extradition from the Republic led to the 1994 collapse of the coalition government of Fianna Fail and Labour.

Smyth died of a heart attack in prison in August 1997, a month into his 12-year sentence.

Three more institutions are to be added to establishments under investigation by the inquiry.

Two in Londonderry - Fort James Children's Home in Ardmore Road and Harberton House Assessment Centre in Irish Street - will be examined next month.

Both establishments were under the remit of the former Western Health and Social Services Board and have since closed.

Hydebank Wood Young Offenders Centre in Belfast has also been added to the list.

Belfast Telegraph


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