Northern Ireland: Amnesty Call for Police Investigation into Potential Cover-up of Widespread Child Abuse

Amnesty International
May 3, 2012

Amnesty International has called on the Police Service of Northern Ireland to launch an investigation into the potential cover-up of criminal acts of child abuse detailed in the BBC programme This Week, broadcast in Northern Ireland on May 1 2012.

The programme uncovered fresh information about serious acts of sexual abuse of children, living in Northern Ireland and the republic of Ireland, by Fr Brendan Smyth, and suggested that a number of people within the Church hierarchy in Ireland may have failed to report those crimes to the State authorities in either jurisdiction. It is alleged that, as a result, the abuse of these and other children continued for a further period of years.

Amnesty International has called for the PSNI to investigate whether Church officials and others failed to report the alleged criminal offences against children in Northern Ireland to the relevant authorities in Northern Ireland.

Patrick Corrigan, Northern Ireland Programme Director of Amnesty International, said:

“The protection of the rights of children is one of the most precious responsibilities carried by the State.

“Following the very serious allegations carried in this BBC programme, it now falls to the relevant State authorities to investigate whether any criminal laws have been breached.

“In short that means that the PSNI must investigate whether individuals failed to report a crime, an offence under Section 5 of the Criminal Law (NI) Act 1967, and whether any other offences - such as perverting the course of justice or conspiracy to pervert the course of justice - have been committed under Northern Ireland law.

“There can be no hiding place for child abusers, nor for those who have colluded, covered up or facilitated the abuse of children, whether in Northern Ireland or the Republic of Ireland. The State authorities in Northern Ireland must now live up to their responsibilities to show that no individual and no institution is above the law.”








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