Institutional child abuse committed in Northern Ireland will not be swept under the carpet, the First Minister Peter Robinson has said.
As campaigners continue to call for an independent inquiry into historic crimes, Peter Robinson told the Assembly that the Executive was committed to tackling the “difficult and sensitive” matter.
Ministers are still considering ways to deal with past abuse but it is understood they favour a probe similar to those that have unearthed a shocking litany of crime in the Republic.
Mr Robinson said he and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness had set up a working group to examine the issue which involved departments with responsibility for related issues including health. Mr Robinson and Mr McGuinness met a group of abuse survivors in the summer.
“Whilst mindful of the legal constraints that need to be identified and given the age of some of the victims and the time they have carried this suffering, we are determined to move on this matter as quickly as possible,” Mr Robinson said.
“There will be no sweeping of this issue under the carpet.
“We intend to deal with it, we intend to give as much assistance as is possible and we will do all that within the context of recognising just how sensitive and hurtful it has been for many of these people.”