Bishop hopes child abuse inquiry recommendations will help others

Northern Ireland inquiry proposals should be implemented with ‘honesty and integrity’

Bishop Noel Treanor: he apologised to the survivors and paid tribute to those who came forward to the historical abuse inquiry. Photograph:  Charles McQuillan/Pacemaker

Bishop Noel Treanor: he apologised to the survivors and paid tribute to those who came forward to the historical abuse inquiry. Photograph: Charles McQuillan/Pacemaker

 

The recommendations arising from Northern Ireland’s child abuse inquiry should be implemented with goodwill, the Catholic bishop of Down and Connor has said.

Bishop Noel Treanor said he hoped the report would help others who have been abused to find the strength and courage to come forward and report it to the authorities.

The independent inquiry recommended compensation payments of up to £100,000, funded by the state and voluntary institutions responsible for the residential homes where the harm occurred, with payments beginning later this year.

Those who suffered in state, church and charity-run homes should also be offered an official apology from government and the organisations involved, the Historical Institutional Abuse (HIA) inquiry led by retired judge Sir Anthony Hart found.

“Let us pray that in response to the HIA inquiry and report, our local church in this diocese and all involved in the statutory and voluntary sectors will have the grace and strength to respond with honesty, integrity and goodwill to the report’s recommendations and their implementation so that the light of justice, truth and peace may shine upon us and facilitate in our society the cultivation of a civilisation of love, courtesy and care for all,” Bishop Treanor said.

The report found evidence of systemic failings in most of the 22 institutions and homes it investigated, and said sex crimes against children were ignored to protect the good name of the Catholic Church. One child who complained was effectively silenced.

However, fresh Assembly elections have been called following the resignation of deputy first minister Martin McGuinness and it is uncertain when the inquiry’s findings will be implemented.

Talks are expected to be held after the March 2nd election to try to establish a new powersharing administration at Stormont.

Safeguarding issues

Bishop Treanor, whose diocese covers the greater Belfast area, told the congregation at St Peter’s Cathedral in west Belfast that the report raised many important safeguarding issues and the diocese should carefully examine its findings and co-operate in implementing the recommendations.

He apologised to the survivors and paid tribute to those who came forward to the inquiry.

“We can barely imagine the pain and suffering involved in their efforts to revisit and describe in words a dark, disappointing, lonely and infernal time in their lives in order to give their evidence.”

The Assembly is due to discuss the report this coming week.

PA