The costs associated with funding inquiries are not usually the main focus when an inquiry is set up; attention is given to the scope of the investigation and how best this can be achieved through the Terms of Reference. However as inquiries are funded by the public purse, pursuant to the Inquiries Act 2005 (sections 39-40), and in light of the current number of national inquiries addressing a range of topics, knowledge and interest in the costs involved has grown as the public focus on whether such inquiries provide value for money.
Sir Anthony Hart, Chairman of the Historic Institutional Abuse Inquiry (HIAI), took the unusual step of releasing a statement last week.
The Terms of Reference for the HIAI were announced by the First and Deputy First Ministers on the 31 May 2012, when they also announced the identity of the Chair and detail about the Acknowledgement Forum.
The report of the Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry in Northern Ireland launched today. A copy of the report was delivered to the Executive Office (formerly the Office of First and Deputy First Minister). The report, which is available online, consists of 10 volumes amounting to 2300 pages.
It deals with issues such as an apology; by whom should an apology be made and the nature of that apology. It also addresses a memorial or tribute to those who suffered abuse, a redress scheme, findings of failings against the State and voluntary providers of residential care homes.
The initial points of interest are the recommendation for a Redress Scheme and criticisms of the involvement of the State in the supervision and inspection of various homes.
Further to our earlier blog on the issue of the overlap between inquiries judgment has now been given in the case of Gary Hoy, a former resident of Kincora, who sought to have the matters relating to the former children’s home at Kincora reviewed as part of the Goddard Inquiry.
Mr Hoy’s appeal failed. The Lord Chief Justice confirmed that the HIA could continue to investigate the matter under their terms of reference. Mr Hoy shouted “cover up” as he left the court.
Written by Fintan Canavan, partner
Earlier this year the University of Ulster (UUJ) along with Amnesty International (AI) met with representatives of those who had been in residential care in Northern Ireland and their legal representatives to discuss the issue of redress. The issue of redress arose again yesterday when former residents of homes protested outside Stormont demanding interim payments towards redress be made now.
As five key inquiries proceed in to matters relating to child sexual abuse there is clearly potential for overlap and the need for organisations to prepare to be involved in more than one Inquiry. Equally some victims may wish to participate in more than one or a different Inquiry. A former resident of the Kincora boys home in Northern Ireland wanted just that.
BLM has published the latest edition of it’s Abuse News Briefing, a digest of news and developments related to child sexual abuse. Continue reading