Commissioner's statement following reports that the Executive parties have agreed that five Ministers will deliver the Apology to Survivors

14 February 2022

Following reports that the Executive parties have agreed that five Ministers, representing the parties, will deliver the apology to victims and survivors of historical institutional childhood abuse, Commissioner Fiona Ryan said:

“I asked politicians to come together to find a way to make the promised Apology to victims and survivors a reality; and give victims and survivors reassurance after almost two weeks of turmoil. The main response from the victims and survivors I have been speaking with today has largely been one of relief following the anxiety of the last 11 days. There has been a broad welcome that the Apology is finally moving forward.

“I know that there will be victims and survivors in the wider community who will greet this announcement with happiness; with a sense they are finally coming closer to the day where they will hear the words: ‘We are sorry. We failed you. You were never to blame.’

“I am also aware that for other victims and survivors, while they welcome that the Apology looks set to go ahead, it may still mean mixed emotions as they once again face a very public discussion on something that’s intensely private to them – the abuse they experienced as children. I would encourage anyone who needs support to reach out to services including the Victims and Survivors Service.

“There are still other victims and survivors for whom no apology will be sufficient for what was taken from them; including for some, who they might have been in their lives. Events of the last couple of weeks have only added to that feeling of disillusionment.

“I think it is crucial that we acknowledge that there is a range of views relating to apology – which the Historical Institutional Childhood Abuse Inquiry itself noted.  My hope is that we keep to the spirit of the original Inquiry recommendation and that the Apology should be wholehearted and unconditional; as part of that wholeheartedness the Apology would need to be humbly offered to victims and survivors for their consideration. In the midst of who will offer the apology, we need to focus on the most important people in this Apology, the people to whom the Apology is being offered to, the victims and survivors of institutional childhood abuse. ”