Abuse inquiry advice should be applied with goodwill, bishop says
A CATHOLIC bishop has said the recommendations of Northern Ireland's child abuse inquiry should be implemented with goodwill.
Noel Treanor hoped the report will help others who have been abused to find the strength and courage to come forward and report it to the authorities.
The independent probe recommended compensation payments of up to £100,000, funded by the state and voluntary institutions responsible for the residential homes where the harm occurred, with payments beginning later this year.
Those who suffered in state, church and charity-run homes should also be offered an official apology from government and the organisations involved, the Historical Institutional Abuse (HIA) inquiry led by retired judge Sir Anthony Hart found.
Bishop Treanor said: "Let us pray that in response to the HIA inquiry and report, our local church in this diocese and all involved in the statutory and voluntary sectors will have the grace and strength to respond with honesty, integrity and goodwill to the report's recommendations and their implementation so that the light of justice, truth and peace may shine upon us and facilitate in our society the cultivation of a civilisation of love, courtesy and care for all."
The report found evidence of systemic failings in most of the 22 institutions and homes it investigated, and said sex crimes against children were ignored to protect the good name of the Catholic Church. One child who complained was effectively silenced.
However fresh elections have been called to Northern Ireland's assembly following the resignation of deputy first minister Martin McGuinness and it is uncertain when the voluminous document's findings will be implemented.
Talks are expected to be held after the March 2 poll to try to establish a new power-sharing administration at Stormont.
Bishop Treanor represents Down and Connor, a diocese covering the greater Belfast area.
He told the congregation at St Peter's Cathedral in west Belfast the report raised many important safeguarding issues and the diocese should carefully examine its findings and co-operate in implementing the recommendations.
He apologised to the survivors and paid tribute to those who came forward to the inquiry.
"We can barely imagine the pain and suffering involved in their efforts to revisit and describe in words a dark, disappointing, lonely and infernal time in their lives in order to give their evidence."
The Assembly is due to discuss the report this coming week.