Child abuse inquiry: New hearing set to be 'one of the darkest chapters'

Amnesty International today warned that the latest hearing in the historic institutional abuse inquiry in Northern Ireland which got underway today will be one of the darkest chapters in the ongoing investigation.

The comments were made from the Banbridge Courthouse where the inquiry started hearings today into allegations of abuse at the Nazareth Lodge and Nazareth House children’s homes, operated by the Sisters of Nazareth religious congregation.

Speaking from the Banbridge Courthouse, Patrick Corrigan, Amnesty International's Northern Ireland Programme Director, said:

“It is clear from the opening statements of the counsel that this phase of the inquiry will be one of the darkest chapters.

“The inquiry will hear from over 100 witnesses of a litany of emotional, physical and sexual abuse suffered by children of all ages in both children’s homes.

“It has already been established that among the abusers was notorious serial paedophile Father Brendan Smyth, who was allowed to use both children’s homes as a personal playground for his depravity. It is clear that the abuse suffered by the children at these two Belfast homes represents a monumental failure by both religious and state institutions in Northern Ireland.

“We hope the inquiry will continue to give voice to the experiences of those who suffered as children in these homes.

“The process must deliver not only public acknowledgement of the suffering, but also justice and redress.”


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