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Statement from Ministers delivering HIA apology

7th March 2022

Date published: 24 February 2022

A public apology will be offered to victims and survivors of historical institutional abuse by Ministers Michelle McIlveen, Conor Murphy, Nichola Mallon, Robin Swann and Naomi Long.

Following engagement with victims’ and survivors’ groups, the Ministers have made the following statement:

On 11 March 2022, we will offer a public apology to victims and survivors of historical institutional abuse.

This will be a hugely significant day. Victims and survivors have waited too long to hear an apology for the awful harm that was inflicted on them as children, and in the years since. We want this apology to provide full acknowledgment of the wrong that was done, and the terrible failures that resulted in the abuse of children by the individuals and a system that should have protected them.

We want to deliver an apology that is meaningful, meets the needs of victims and survivors, and is delivered in a way that helps them to move forward with their lives. We recognise that the experience of every victim and survivor is individual, and each have personal views on what they want to be included. We are listening to them and working to ensure the apology is developed in line with what they need to hear.

The apology will be made in the Assembly Chamber of Parliament Buildings, a symbolic venue for victims and survivors. As many victims and survivors as possible will be present in Parliament Buildings on the day and we are putting arrangements in place in other regional venues for those who wish to come together to hear the apology. It will also be streamed online for all those who wish to watch from home, or across the world.

We are mindful of the many victims of historical institutional abuse who have sadly died before having the chance to hear an apology delivered, and we have agreed to hold a minute’s silence in their memory on the day. As Ministers, we will deliver the apology on behalf of government. This will be followed by apologies from each of the institutions where systemic failings were found in the Hart Report.

While victims and survivors have waited far too long for an apology, 11 March will be a very difficult and emotional day for many. We understand the need to approach this apology with respect and sensitivity. We are working with the Victims and Survivors Service to ensure that support is available. Anyone who needs support can contact the Victims and Survivors Service on 028 9031 1678.

Michelle McIlveen
Conor Murphy
Nichola Mallon
Robin Swann
Naomi Long