The failure to institute a redress scheme for children who lived in Northern residential homes has been described as “deeply regrettable” by the Diocese of Down and Connor.
Sir Anthony Hart’s Historical Institutional Abuse (HIAI) Report, published in January 2017, had examined the provision of care in a number of residential homes between 1922 and 1995, and recommended that the Northern Ireland Executive institute a redress scheme in light of State and Church abuse.
However, since the report was delivered to the Executive Office and then formally launched Northern Ireland has been in a state of political stalemate.
A spokesperson for the Diocese of Down and Connor said the diocese “unequivocally accepts” the recommendations of the report, adding that it was “deeply regrettable” that they have not been implemented “due to the vacuum created by the current political impasse in Northern Ireland”.
“The diocese acknowledges the justifiable hurt and frustration experienced by the victims and survivors who have suffered and who courageously came forward to the Inquiry yet remain despondent at the lack of progress,” the diocese said.
The diocese also reaffirmed its commitment to work closely alongside religious congregations and other state, voluntary and church providers of institutional care to assist the Executive Office of the Northern Ireland Assembly in addressing the recommendations of this report.
Derry’s Bishop Donal McKeown expressed similar sentiments, urging political leaders to enact the recommendations.
“The absence of a devolved administration has meant that high hopes of redress have been dashed for a full year,” he said, noting that over that year former residents of homes had died and others continued to suffer in various ways.
“In the upcoming talks, I encourage our political leaders to prioritise the full implementation of the Hart recommendations. The needs of the suffering are more important than anything else,” he said.