Press Release

January 23, 2017

PRESS RELEASE

ONE IN FOUR WELCOMES THE PUBLICATION OF THE HISTORICAL INSTITUTIONAL ABUSE INQUIRY IN NORTHERN IRELAND

FRIDAY JANUARY 20TH 2017

One in Four today welcomes the publication of the Report of the Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry (the Hart Report) in Northern Ireland.

Executive Director Maeve Lewis says: “The Hart Report documents the unspeakable cruelty to which the most vulnerable children in Northern Ireland were subjected over decades while in the care of the State.  Vicious physical abuse, repeated sexual abuse and neglect were the routine experience of the children.  Many of them have endured the impact of this inhumane treatment throughout their lives.  Judge Hart describes catastrophic failures of the State agencies, religious congregations and the Church authorities to properly monitor the care of the children.  The shocking revelations in Northern Ireland mirror those exposed by the Ryan Report (2009) into institutional abuse in the Republic.”

“Just as the abuse of children happened in plain sight in the Republic, so too did it happen in Northern Ireland.  Through our deference to unworthy authority, we are all shamed by our silence regarding the despicable treatment of the most defenceless members of our society.  And while we might treat the events documented in the Hart and Ryan Reports as belonging to the past, we 21st-century citizens have no reason to be proud of our underfunded and under-resourced child protection and welfare system. Tonight there will be many children who go to bed cold, hungry, unloved and abused while we turn a blind eye.”

Maeve Lewis continues: “We must salute the tremendous courage of all the survivors who gave evidence before the Inquiry and who continue to suffer from the trauma of their childhoods.  Unlike in the Republic, no Redress Scheme was set up to run alongside the Inquiry.  It is a matter of great urgency that a compensation scheme be established for the survivors, many of whom are now elderly and living in straitened circumstances. We commend Judge Hart and his team for the tremendous work they have done.”

Maeve Lewis ends “The publication of the Hart Report will undoubtedly trigger many painful and distressing memories for survivors from both North and South.  I urge anybody who is affected to reach out and ask for support.”

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