Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry Report

Part of Private Members' Business – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 10:45 pm on 23rd January 2017.

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Photo of Pam Cameron Pam Cameron DUP 10:45 pm, 23rd January 2017

Obviously, the motion starts by welcoming the publication of the report of the historical institutional abuse inquiry. It is a sad day when we are having to welcome such a report, but of course we all give our thanks to Sir Anthony Hart for the valuable work that he has done while chairing the inquiry into institutional abuse; abuse which is abhorrent in all right-thinking minds. That the mistreatment and sexual abuse took place within church and charitable organisations, which we all rightly expect to hold in high esteem and much trust, is utterly deplorable and should be condemned by all in the Assembly. That includes being present to see through any appropriate recommendations that follow the inquiry.

The motion also speaks of noting the recommendations for redress for victims and survivors of institutional abuse. No one could argue against that desire to see redress for these most innocent of victims, who have had their childhoods and indeed lives destroyed by the most vile offenders — people who were put into positions of trust and were to care for our children. I completely agree with my party colleague Christopher Stalford that the scale of failure to protect the most vulnerable children is astonishing and does indeed represent a complete failure by the Ministry of Home Affairs, the DHSS and the criminal justice system. Children and young people were placed in these homes with the certainty that they would be well cared for, nurtured and looked after, particularly because of the regard in which charities and Churches were held.

This is yet another example of some of the most heinous crimes that have been uncovered in Northern Ireland. Of course, we are not alone: we know that paedophiles, in particular, all across the globe will place themselves in positions of trust and power in order to ensure that they fulfil their own disgusting and warped needs. It is right and proper that we should be repulsed by their actions.

The latter part of the motion speaks, of course, about deploring that the political impasse means that the report is not being actioned. You will certainly have no argument from me on that. The decision by the party opposite to pull down the Government in order to fulfill their political wish list disgusts me. We have recently seen again that party's lack of interest, demonstrated by either empty or virtually empty seats. Election preparations are obviously well under way, because its Members have decided to turn up today.

We cannot ease the pain and anguish from which the victims will never be free, but it would at least show and demonstrate that the Government care about their suffering and recognise fully the wrongs that were committed against these individuals if we took certain action on the back of the report. Mr Deputy Speaker, it is a very sad day when the Government receive a report such as this and are unable or, indeed, unwilling, as in the case of Sinn Féin, to give it the attention and action that the victims of historical institutional abuse deserve.