Northern Ireland news

Calls for 'full-scale inquiry' into mother and baby homes in NI

Patrick Corrigan of Amnesty International

AMNESTY International last night called for a "full-scale inquiry into the appalling tragic scandal of mother and baby homes" in Northern Ireland.

Women forced to give birth in the homes and the children born in the institutions have joined with the charity in calling for a public inquiry into abuses they say they suffered.

It comes after the Irish government yesterday published a 3,000-page investigation report into homes in the Republic. Taioseach Michéal Martin said the report describes "a dark, difficult and shameful chapter of very recent Irish history".

Amnesty said there were more than a dozen mother and baby home-type institutions in the north, with the last one closing its doors as recently as the 1990s.

Some 7,500 women and girls gave birth in the homes, which were operated by both Catholic and Protestant churches and religious organisations.

In 2017, the Historical Institutional Abuse (HIA) Inquiry published its findings after it investigated historical allegations of child abuse at 22 residential institutions run by religious, charitable and state organisations across Northern Ireland in a 73-year period.

It made recommendations calling for compensation payments to be made to victims and survivors.

Patrick Corrigan of Amnesty International said Northern Ireland "must now follow the Republic of Ireland and instigate a full-scale inquiry".

"These distressing findings echo the serious concerns we have long held about how women and babies were treated in near-identical institutions in Northern Ireland," he said.

"In 2013, Amnesty submitted a paper to the Executive making the case for a public inquiry into abuses in these homes."

He added: "The Executive must deliver a human rights compliant investigation into the allegations of systemic human rights abuses at these institutions, and give an apology and redress to those who suffered irreparable damage to their lives."

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Northern Ireland news