Long: CSA Inquiry deserves a chair who can command respect

Alliance East Belfast MP Naomi Long has said the historic Child Sex Abuse (CSA) inquiry has suffered another setback, after Fiona Woolf’s decision to step down as chairperson.

Mrs Long was speaking after Mrs Woolf announced her decision, citing the loss of victims’ confidence in her for the move.

Naomi Long MP said: “This is yet another false start for an inquiry that has suffered extensive problems from the beginning. The Home Secretary has serious questions to answer – we are now four months on from the initial announcement and the voice of the victims has yet to be heard, with the focus continually falling on bureaucracy.

“The CSA Inquiry needs a chair who can command the respect and confidence of victims and it is clear Fiona Woolf had lost this. While I recognise her decision to step aside as the right one, I firmly believe she should never have been in the position in the first place. The nature of this inquiry is extremely sensitive and must be completely impartial and going forward I will be advocating for a statutory inquiry led by a judge.

“The Home Secretary must take urgent action to restore faith in the inquiry as a whole. This inquiry has already unsettled victims with its haphazard nature – especially here in Northern Ireland where the Home Office has continually refused to include Kincora.

“As we move into a new phase of the CSA inquiry there is a fresh opportunity for Kincora to be included. Locally the spotlight remains on Kincora following numerous claims that security services participated in blackmail and cover-ups around it. The Home Secretary must take this opportunity to signal to Kincora’s many victims that their story will be heard and they will get the justice they deserve.”

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