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Inquiry exposes widespread child abuse in Northern Ireland

Inquiry exposes widespread child abuse in Northern Ireland

The Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry (HIA), headed by Sir Anthony Hart, above, reveals that children’s homes run by churches and charities in Northern Ireland were the scene of widespread abuse and mistreatment of young residents.

Sir Anthony, according to the BBC, said the largest number of complaints received related to four Sisters of Nazareth homes. It found nuns physically and emotionally abused children in their care.

The HIA studied allegations of abuse in 22 homes and other residential institutions between 1922 to 1995.

Many of the incidents relating to sexual abuse were known by members of the clergy who did nothing to stop them.

The HIA heard evidence from hundreds of people who spent their childhood in residential homes and institutions.

Hearings were held into facilities run by the state, local authorities, the Catholic Church, the Church of Ireland, and Barnardo’s.

A total of 493 people engaged with the inquiry, in one form or another, and while the majority were seen in Belfast, others were seen in Londonderry, the Republic of Ireland, England, Scotland, Wales and Australia.

Turning his attention to the former local authority-run Kincora Boys’ Home in east Belfast, Sir Anthony said the inquiry had:

Stripped away decades of half truths masquerading as facts, in relation to Kincora and what state agencies did or did not do about [the abuse there].

In 2015, a victim of child sex abuse at the Kincora Boys Home revealed how he was molested by “very powerful people” at a luxury apartment block and notorious guest house linked to a VIP paedophile ring.

Richard Kerr, above,  – a former resident at the home – claimed young boys like himself were trafficked to England and abused by a well-organised ring in London.

Three men, William McGrath, Raymond Semple and Joseph Mains, who were senior care staff at Kincora, were jailed in 1981 for abusing 11 boys.

Sir Anthony said when the police became aware in 1974 of complaints against McGrath, the investigation was:

Inept and inadequate.

He said a proper investigation into McGrath may have meant the children who were abused after 1974 could have been spared.

He added that the boys were let down by those three individuals, who committed sexual abuse “of the gravest kind” to teenage boys in their care.

But the majority of those at Kincora between 1958 and 1980, who gave evidence, said they were not sexually abused during their time there.

The former retired judge is also expected to deal with a number of issues including apologies, a memorial, redress and compensation.

Some of those who gave evidence to the inquiry have travelled to Belfast from different parts of Northern Ireland to hear his conclusions.

The publication today of the HIA report brings to a conclusion the Inquiry’s investigation into historical institutional abuse. The HIA was formally established in January 2013 by the Northern Ireland Executive.

Hat tip: BarrieJohn

8 responses to “Inquiry exposes widespread child abuse in Northern Ireland”

  1. Newspaniard says:

    From no particular point of view, I suspect that the childrens’ homes run by religious organizations south of the border were not altogether without sin. Although the RCC wields such power down there, I doubt that any such complaints would ever be investigated.

  2. barriejohn says:

    Newspaniard: Evidence of abuses in Ireland have been raised before, and there is a Facebook page referring to abuses in England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland.

    http://freethinker.co.uk/2014/06/04/churches-buried-evidence-of-their-cruelty/

    Not only the Catholic Church was implicated, but the CofE and the warm and cuddly Salvation Army as well, who callously stole girls’ babies from them.

  3. Trevor Blake says:

    There may come a day when parents know not to trust their children around clergy. Today is not that day. Decades of well documented systematic abuse is insufficient. Maybe a few more decades of well documented systematic abuse will make a difference.

  4. L.Long says:

    I always suspect ALL religious homes of kid abuse….have not been disappointed so far!

  5. AgentCormac says:

    And will all those who purport to be members of the rcc or other religious organisations tear up their membership cards in protest at the actions (or inaction) of their leadership? Not a chance.

  6. Michael Glass says:

    In Australia the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has found widespread abuse in institutions both religious and secular. The evidence that it has uncovered has been explosive. We await the recommendations of the Royal Commission when it concludes its work.

  7. Paul says:

    What is it with nuns and their sadistic practices.
    It seems to be a bit too frequent. If they want to
    punish themselves and lead a life of misery get on with it – but why do they inflict that on those who are there purely by accident or fate and, most importantly are out most vulnerable.
    They truly are quite evil people.

  8. John says:

    I remember discussing the Kincora Boys Home with Ken Livingstone more than 20 years ago – and it was “old” news then that leading Unionist politicians were involved in sexual child abuse.
    Lobster magazine covered the story in their very first edition in September 1983 – see http://www.8bitmode.com/rogerdog/lobster/lobster01.pdf.
    I am convinced that UK military intelligence officers and Ulster Special Branch officers knew all about their seedy practices and they were able to use this knowledge to blackmail senior Unionist politicians into accepting the Irish peace agreement as a result.
    From memory, one young boy who ran away from Kincora was found in Liverpool and placed on a boat back to Northern Ireland. During the crossing he jumped overboard into the Irish Sea and was never seen again.
    I saw Sir Anthony Hart being interviewed on TV and during his interview he mentioned compensation from public resources but made no reference to compensation from religious sources.
    Is that right?
    I suspect this report may just be an exercise in damage limitation, if not exactly a white-wash.