Statement by the Diocese of Down & Connor in Response to the HIAI Report

20 Jan 2017

The Diocese of Down and Connor acknowledges, with a profound sense of shame, the report prepared by the HIAI and commends the professionalism of Sir Anthony Hart and all those who assisted him in conducting the investigations and preparing this report.

This report raises many important safeguarding matters and provides a comprehensive and harrowing review and analysis of historical abuse across residential homes in Northern Ireland over many decades.

The report concludes that there were indeed systemic failures that led to the abuse of children within institutional care homes run by the state, voluntary organisations and churches.

The Diocese of Down and Connor apologises wholeheartedly, unconditionally and unreservedly to all those who have suffered abuse and carried the legacy of such appalling experiences from childhood as a result of any failing on the part of a representative of this diocese.

The Diocese deeply values the courage of the survivors and victims who bravely came forward during this Inquiry and revisited a very difficult time in their lives in order to give their evidence and in the hope that lessons will have been learnt.

The Diocese of Down and Connor will examine carefully and reflect upon the full report, on its findings and conclusions, and will continue 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.

The Diocese of Down and Connor hopes that this report and the implementation of its recommendations can aid the onward recovery of victims, survivors and their families as they seek truth and justice.

The Diocese also hopes that this report will assist others who have been abused to find the strength and courage to come forward and report that abuse to the statutory authorities or to the appropriate safeguarding representatives. The Diocese of Down and Connor Safeguarding Office can assist and can be contacted on 028 9049 2798.

Notes for Editors

Support for survivors of abuse: Towards Healing, the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church in Ireland, and Towards Peace constitute the pastoral service response to survivors of child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church in Ireland.  Please see their contact details below for your use:

Towards Healing Counselling & Support Services is available to survivors of Church, Religious and Institutional abuse.  The Towards Healing director is Mr Michael Lyons and the service provides lay independent and fully accredited counsellors to support survivors. Towards Healing may be contacted by:

  • Freephone (UK & NI) 0800 096 3315 or (RoI) 1800 303 416
  • Mobile number for Hearing Impaired Clients  +353 (0) 85-8022859

The National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church in Ireland provides advice on all aspects of case management, including notification of allegations and support for the complainant.  It’s chief executive is Ms Teresa Devlin.  If you are concerned about a child or young person or wish to report a child safeguarding suspicion, concern, knowledge or allegation you should contact the statutory authorities.  As the Catholic Church in Ireland has a mandatory reporting policy you can also contact the NBSCCCI by:

Towards Peace is a service offering spiritual support to survivors of physical emotional or sexual abuse perpetrated by Catholic Church personnel in Ireland.  The director of Towards Peace is Ms Una Allen who can be contacted by: