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Cardinal Brady revelations underline need for Northern Ireland inquiry into institutional child abuse

The revelations that Cardinal Brady was involved in a failure to notify the civil authorities of the serial child abuse of Northern Ireland priest Fr Brendan Smyth underlines the need for an inquiry into child abuse in church-operated institutions in Northern Ireland, Amnesty International said today.

Amnesty is urging the relevant government authorities in Northern Ireland to comply with their international obligations to conduct a thorough investigation into allegations of physical, sexual and emotional abuse in Children's rights's homes and other institutions in Northern Ireland.

Patrick Corrigan, Northern Ireland Programme Director of Amnesty International, said:

‘’These latest revelations show that the Church not only failed to inform the police and social services of a serial child abuser who operated on both sides of the Irish border, but also swore to secrecy the very Children's rights who were victims of that abuse. Whatever happens about the future of Cardinal Brady, the Northern Ireland Executive has an urgent and overriding obligation to institute a thorough investigation of child abuse both inside and outside Church-run institutions within this jurisdiction.

"The Assembly voted on November 2 2009 for the Executive to commission an assessment of the extent of abuse and neglect in Northern Ireland. More than four months on, this has still not happened. The Church imposed bonds of secrecy on the girls and boys who were abused by priests and those who worked in church-run institutions. The victims of that abuse in Northern Ireland now look to the government to break the chains of secrecy, expose the truth and provide a measure of justice and redress.’’

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