Friday, July 9, 2010

Victims of clerical child abuse demand inquiry

Victims of clerical child abuse demand inquiry

Friday, 9 July 2010

A former resident of a Catholic care home returned to Belfast for the first time in more than 50 years yesterday to help hand in a letter to Stormont demanding an inquiry into clerical child abuse in Northern Ireland.

Victims hand-delivered a letter to the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister calling for an inquiry, similar to the Republic’s Ryan probe, to investigate decades of abuse by members of religious orders in Church-run schools and orphanages.

Conor Ryan lived at De La Salle Boys Home in Kircubbin for two years from 1957. “It was a primitive place, run like a borstal. My time there could be best described as living hell,” he said.

Now resident in London, he returned to Belfast for the first time since 1959, as he wanted to be at Stormont to hand in the letter. He added: “I am 65 now and still dealing with what happened. Nobody should have to go through what we went through. The Government need to look into the abuse that took place and set up some form of redress.”

SDLP MLA Conall McDevitt is acting as the group’s Assembly representative. He said: “There will have to be nothing short of an inquiry into the historical institutional abuse of these people.”

Patrick Corrigan from Amnesty International also joined with the group to lend support.

Maeve Lewis from the Republic’s abuse victims’ group One in Four said: “I hope the Government here respond in the same way as the government in the South has. These people deserve an inquiry.”

Abuse survivor Margaret McGuckin said: “We are glad to have support from so many people and I have to commend the SDLP, who have worked tirelessly to help us. The Government has to realise the damage done and the hurt we are carrying.”

A planning meeting for upcoming talks with First Ministers Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness was also held. The delegation is to meet with Catholic Church representatives this morning.

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