Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry Report

Part of Private Members' Business – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 10:30 pm on 23rd January 2017.

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Photo of William Irwin William Irwin DUP 10:30 pm, 23rd January 2017

I fully welcome the publication of the report. I thank everyone involved, not least Sir Anthony Hart, in the setting up and running of the process of the inquiry and acknowledgement forum through to the publication of the final report. A huge tribute must also be paid to the many people who came forward to give their account of abuse. No one can be unmoved by the plight experienced by the victims of institutional abuse in Northern Ireland and how it has profoundly affected their lives.

It has clearly been a very detailed and thorough inquiry. It was fully supported by Government in order that those tasked with its operation had all the necessary resources to enable the process to be wholly adequate and robust. The absolute focus must always remain on the victims and the impact of the abuse on the many victims throughout the years. The effect of the abuse was not isolated to the time that victims spent in the place where the abuse occurred. Leaving the institution did not mean the end of their suffering. The horrendous acts perpetrated against the vulnerable and the innocent have stayed with the victims to this day, and the memory of the abuse they lived through is a daily source of pain for them. An important aspect of this inquiry has been to give those victims, who were so deeply and terribly affected by the abuse, a voice and to say to them that Northern Ireland recognises their pain and wants to help to lessen that pain. The inquiry has been a very important process for the victims in this regard.

Another tragedy in the ongoing trauma for the victims is the fact that, as children, they were not listened to. This is a very concerning fact, especially given what the inquiry has found. It is all the more terrible that young vulnerable children, when they needed assistance most, were pushed away, rejected and disbelieved. It is unacceptable enough that children suffered at all, let alone that they suffered —