MLAs back motion supporting Bon Secours investigation

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MLAs backed a motion calling for all government bodies and religious orders to co-operate fully with any investigation surrounding the discovery of bodies buried at the Bon Secours Sisters home, on 23 June 2014.

The remains of "nearly 800" children were found in a disused concrete septic tank in the grounds of the Bon Secours Sisters home in Tuam, County Galway.

Sinn Fein's Bronwyn McGahan, one of the proposers of the motion, said there was "no justification for what happened" and "no-one can abdicate their responsibilities" for what she described as "a shameful period".

Ms McGahan said it was "vital" that any inquiry allowed victims to "talk about their experiences and have them heard and acknowledged".

The SDLP's Colum Eastwood said it was "a very difficult debate to take part in" as it was "a period of our history I think has been hidden away, kept secret and largely ignored for far too long".

He referred to the passage in the Irish Proclamation of 1916 that "talks about cherishing all the children of our nation equally".

"I think we've failed massively in terms of that standard," he said.

The UUP's Mike Nesbitt said that victims often feel "doubly victimised - firstly by the incident and then by what happens after that".

He said there is a belief that investigations may be long and drawn-out "in the expectation that the victims will simply die".

Alliance's Trevor Lunn said that while the "secours" in the name "Bon Secours" meant "succour", "the truth is clearly different".

He said, "mothers and babies were incarcerated and treated like criminals, or sinners".

Mr Lunn described the experiences of victims as "deplorable".

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