Good Shepherd to come under the spotlight at abuse inquiry

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The former Good Shepherd Sisters in the Waterside will come under the spotlight at the Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry at Banbridge on Monday, March 7.

Module 12 will consider evidence in respect of a number of institutions run by the Good Shepherd Sisters.

The institutions were located in Belfast, Londonderry and Newry.

The proceedings will commence with a brief opening address from the Inquiry’s Chairman, Sir Anthony Hart. Counsel to the Inquiry, Joseph Aiken, will provide an overview of matters relating to those institutions run by the Good Shepherd Sisters. The module is expected to last two weeks.

The Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry was formally established in January 2013 by the Northern Ireland Executive. It has a remit to investigate child abuse that occurred in residential institutions in Northern Ireland over a 73-year period from 1922 to 1995.

In total, the Inquiry is expected to hear from more than 450 witnesses during the course of the public evidence sessions.

Under the Inquiry’s revised Terms of Reference, the Inquiry is required to complete its hearings and all investigative work by mid-summer 2016, and has to submit its report to the Northern Ireland Executive by 17th January 2017.

Applications to participate in the Statutory Inquiry and Acknowledgement Forum are now closed. By the closing date, 524 individuals (excluding duplicate applications) had made a formal application to speak to the Inquiry and/or its Acknowledgement Forum. Most of the applications (330) have come from individuals residing in Northern Ireland. The Inquiry’s Acknowledgement Forum has now completed its interviews and met with 428 applicants.

A total of 22 institutions in Northern Ireland are under investigation by the Inquiry in relation to allegations of historical institutional abuse and/or neglect and have been or will be the subject of public hearings. In addition, there are a small number of other homes or institutions where the Inquiry has identified specific issues which it considers need to be investigated, but which do not justify being investigated in full-scale public hearings.

The Inquiry’s Chairman, Sir Anthony Hart, is a retired senior High Court judge who practised in Northern Ireland. The other members of the Inquiry are Geraldine Doherty, who was formerly the Head of the Central Council for Education and Training in Social Work in Scotland, and David Lane, who was formerly Director of Social Services in Wakefield, West Yorkshire, England.

The Inquiry’s hearings are open to the public. Details of forthcoming proceedings will be posted regularly on the Inquiry’s website: www.hiainquiry.org