Belfast Telegraph

McGuinness and Foster make historical abuse claim pledge

The Stormont Executive is committed to finding a way to ensure abuse allegations that fall outside the remit of Northern Ireland's on-going judge-led inquiry are addressed, Martin McGuinness has said.

Clerical abuse victims and some former residents of Magdalene laundry-type institutions in the region have demanded to know why the crimes inflicted on them are not being examined by the Stormont commissioned investigation headed by retired judge Sir Anthony Hart.

The Historical Institutional Abuse (HIA) inquiry, which is currently gathering victim testimony, is examining alleged child abuse perpetrated inside residential institutions from 1922 to 1995.

However, the probe's remit does not cover abuse inflicted on victims who were over 18 when they were inside residential facilities, such as woman forced into Magdalene-style laundries, or clerical abuse committed outside of an institutional setting.

Deputy First Minister Mr McGuinness and First Minister Arlene Foster have already tasked the Department of Health to examine options for how those allegations could be properly investigated.

Giving evidence to the Assembly scrutiny committee, Mr McGuinness said: "It is an issue we do have to deal with."

The Sinn Fein MLA added: "We all do understand that given the complexity of the situation that there are other circumstances that do require investigation and we are committed to finding a way forward to ensure that nobody out there who has been effectively both humiliated and, in many cases, destroyed in their lives feel they have not received the support they are entitled to from our administration."

Mrs Foster told committee members there was not yet a timescale for reaching an agreed way forward.

"Discussions are on-going with colleagues in the Department of Health as to how best that can be delivered and we are looking forward to coming up with a solution to that," she said.

The DUP leader added: "We are very much aware that it's a live issue."


From Belfast Telegraph