Commissioner's comments after appearance at the meeting of the Executive Office Committee 15 December 2021

Following a meeting of the Executive Office Committee today, which had to be cut short due to a lack of quorum from TEO Committee members, Fiona Ryan, Commissioner for Survivors of Institutional Childhood Abuse said:

 “I was invited to attend a meeting of the Executive Office Committee today to update them on my work as Commissioner for survivors of institutional childhood abuse. After I had provided a verbal update to the Committee, I was advised that unfortunately there would be no opportunity to take questions from Committee members due to a lack of MLAs being present.

 “I am saddened that this was the case given the important issues around HIA that were due to be discussed at this meeting. I have heard from several survivor group representatives this evening who expressed deep hurt and upset that the session was abruptly cut short.

 “On the same day that the First and deputy First Ministers announced that a review of the redress process is finally underway, this Committee session was very timely. We are now five years on from the Hart Report and survivors of HIA have yet to receive an apology and have serious issues with the redress process. Survivors have had to wait for far too long to have their voices heard and to receive long-awaited recommendations set out in the Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry nearly five years ago. Many are now in advancing years, some in poor health and time is very much of the essence.

 “I was at the Committee today to raise these points but sadly there was no opportunity to have these important discussions. Once again, survivors are telling me that they feel let down and that their voices are not heard or acknowledged.

 “I would like to place on record my thanks to those Committee members who did attend and hope that this meeting can be re-scheduled as soon as possible.”