Bradshaw: Terms of Reference for research into historical clerical child abuse taking too long

Alliance Party MLA Paula Bradshaw has said she is disappointed after it was revealed the Terms of Reference for research into Historical Clerical Child Abuse have not been signed off to date.

The MLA for South Belfast questioned the Executive Office on Monday, when it became clear the Terms of Reference had not been dealt with at the September meeting of the Inter-Departmental Working Group on Mother & Baby Homes, Magadalene Laundries and Historical Clerical Child Abuse, as expected.

She said: “I met with Departmental Officials, along with Alliance Party colleagues, a couple of years ago and were advised then that the Terms of Reference were being drafted.

“I appreciate that it is important that these are sufficiently expansive in remit to ensure that no sections of the Church or locations where they organised worship and events, over the years, are left out.

“Further, I appreciate that the delay from my initial meeting with TEO was also exasperated due to the suspension of the Executive, as the civil servants did not have the authority to move forward during this time. But I had expected some movement by now.

“I asked the First Minister in the Assembly Chamber on Monday about this research and was hopeful that she would have been able to provide me with tighter timelines for signing it off and putting it out to tender for commissioning.

“However, this information and confirmation was not forthcoming and I am very disappointed by this as it is important that the victims of clerical child abuse know that the Assembly supports their quest for truth, justice and an acknowledgement of the hurt their experienced.”