Assembly debates clerical abuse

The SDLP’s Carmel Hanna today brought a motion to the Assembly on clerical child abuse in Northern Ireland. The motion urged the assembly to agree that the abuse detailed in the report should be subject to criminal law. It also called on the executive to commission an assessment of the extent of the abuse in Northern Ireland, fund counselling services and liaise with authorities in the Republic of Ireland on matters related to the report.

By way of the new BBC Democracy Live website we can bring you the entire debate here:

  • wild turkey


    I respect the integrity of your posts. Although I smell someone on the make, for now that need not concern us


    1. Are you suggesting that the SDLP is uniquely placed to raise the question of the ‘Alleged’ ongoing clerical abuse of children? What has the party done about the long lasting, but still existing, Kincora allegations?
    2. Given the SDLP’s historic links with INTO, was the party not aware of child abuse allegations until now?
    3. If allegations of widespread clerical abuse of children are demonstrated, would you agree that the SDLP should jettison and refute any and all connections the party, and more importantly its members, might have with the church in general, and bishoprics ongoing denial of its accountability and responsibility? .
    4. In 25, or 50, words or less, how does the SDLP response to alleged clerical abuse differ substantially from the defense made by roman hierarchy?. In particular, what are those jurisdictions and dioceses where the alleged abuse of catholic priests has been successfully challenged and exposed by the SDLP or individual members of the, uh, party?.

    And aside from playing a good PR angle, just what has the SDLP learned from these sad and tragic episodes? And what is the partys considered policy response?

  • Intelligence Insider

    Michelle McIlveen – I doubt anyone in Strangford would ever vote for her again if they saw the mess she made of her statement. What she said was right but she is obviously way, way over her depth. Like many of her colleaugues she can do nothing other than poorly read out statements written by the D.U.P. press machine.

  • Comrade Stalin

    I do not disagree with the motion, but that aside, it’s just another example of the assembly wasting time on things that it is powerless to legislate on, just so that our esteemed politicians can be seen to be jumping on a bandwagon rather than actually reforming the laws and institutions of the country.

  • Wild Turkey

    It is hard to believe that you should seek to attack the SDLP for bringing this motion to the Assembly.

    Your comments are in stark contrast to those from every party in the Assembly during the debate. They are innacurate and insulting and frankly way wide of the mark.

    Tadgh. For the record I have NO commercial / professional relationship with the Carmel Hanna or any part of the SDLP for that matter. I am a party member and pay my dues – but I hope you know that already. Most readers here do.

    Do you have an interest in the issue by any chance now that we have clarified those mateers for you?


    The assembly has all the powers nessesary to deal with every aspect of the motion.

  • Big Bird

    “For the record I have NO commercial / professional relationship with the Carmel Hanna or any part of the SDLP for that matter.”

    Does media training for Margaret Ritchie not constitute a commercial and professional relationship?

    or this from the SDLP website….

    “Social Development Minister Margaret Ritchie MLA has emphasised how urban regeneration must be linked to improving the local economy.
    The Minister was the first guest at a Belfast business breakfast organised by International PR Company, Weber Shandwick…………..The invited audience representing developers, planners, legal firms, financial institutions ”

    BTW, how are these breakfasts going? Had anymore….no…didn’t think so!

  • Sidestepping the actual content of this thread, I’m interested in the BBC making embed-able assembly recordings available on the BBC Democracy Website, is this a solution to their problems with Slugger carrying other NI Politics related content?

    The BBC’s position appears to be that they want Slugger to relay their political coverage, but doing so would create a precedent for other content.

    If the BBC were to establish a different licence for democracy-related content (and this could include Question Time as well as Hearts and Minds) then they could get the best of all worlds.

    The important thing is that Slugger doing this doesn’t stop the BBC from protecting the terms of use that applies to their more commercially attractive content?

  • JoMax

    The Connolly House muppets and the DUP bigots must really hate and, more importantly, fear CMcD.

    To take them in order:

    Wild Turkey (just to pick up a few of your more absurd nonsense):
    -What are the “well documented links” between SDLP and INTO? You made the allegation, now justify it.
    -Are you seriously suggesting that because of the vile behaviour of some some Catholic religious that the SDLP should call on voters to leave the Catholic Church?
    -Are you so irredeeemably bigoted that you didn’t even take time to listen to Carmel Hanna’s speech?

    People like you make me sick, you are so steeped in sheer bigotry. There have been some disgraceful acts by various members of religious denominations in NI which resulted in criminal convictions (there was a case a few weeks ago), yet I know of no Catholic who would seek to smear the other adherents of those denominations.

    Tadg de Paor and Big Bird:

    It’s like what John Hume said about the Provisional movement decades ago-if they can murder and kidnap and rob and maim, they can lie and character-assassinate without difficulty.

    For God’s sake, get a life. All parties barring DUP, including Sinn Fein, treated the substance of the debate with dignity and respect yesterday and even some DUP people (like Jim Shannon and Robin Newton) made decent contributions.

  • Big Bird


    I was clearly pointing out the misleading comments made in an earlier post by Conall, and his commercial/professional relationship with the SDLP, which, is fine btw. I don’t see the point in hiding it and misleading bloggers. Hosting breakfasts for an SDLP minister as a lobbying tool for your clients is great, but don’t communicate that it is the first of many, and not follow that up, and don’t pretend it is anything else other than a bit of opportunistic clientism.

    I’m not sure people hate or fear anyone in the SDLP, and its a large ego that would think that way.

    Conall denies he gains advantage from his links from the SDLP, in a professional context, but even his own bio on the weber shandwick website says….”he was a member of the SDLP’s negotiating team for the negotiations leading to the Good Friday Agreement”

    Great, if not stretching the truth a little, but don’t then make claims of having NO professional relationship with the SDLP. Its simply not honest.

  • Louise

    Surely the Ryan report motion is a worthy news item in its own right that would deserve a discussion place on a political blog? Why attack Conall for merely posting it? He did not make any comment on the issue but only made a factual report so why do some posters on this blog immediately go into attack mode? And for that matter I don’t think he has ever hid the fact that he is an SDLP member.
    I appreciate that everyone has different political views, and indeed I very much respect this fact. However, from where I am sitting it seems that there are some people hell bent on battering the SDLP or indeed Conall for that matter, no matter what they say which is boring and predictable and completely evades the matter at hand.
    But then again the SDLP were ahead of the crowd in dealing with real politics rather than point scoring. Thats just my opinion. Now back to the motion…

  • Jack Hynes

    Good of Conall to put forward a topic for debate. Don’t see the point in personal attacks – it’s boring, not least that they’re made anonymously. If they continue, why would anyone fess up and put their name to their comments. If NI continues like this, there is no way forward.
    If slugger is to be a platform for constructive debate, then fess up and declare your own interest.

  • Tadgh, Big Bird

    I must ask that you refrain from suggesting I profit from my political views or past employment.

    These are personal attacks on me professionally and do nothing to progress debate about this serious issue.

  • Louise

    Tadhg de Paor – I think Conall is being attacked in regards to his integrity from Big Bird. He has never denied his political affiliation as far as I am aware but is in fact very open about it and so I don’t know why this is even being discussed.
    Every poster on this blog have their politics and they are entitled to it, so live and let live I say.

    I am just annoyed about this as it seems that some people are only interested in playing the man rather than the ball as they say.

    PS Hanna’s actions? as in the motion?

  • Tadgh

    Thanks for your last remarks. I’m happy to move on.

    Big Bird.

    Just to clarify yet another matter you raise. I have never provided Margaret Ritchie with media training paid or unpaid.

  • Louise

    It is a very important motion and I hope that the Assembly will pursue it. The political will is certainly there as far as I can see, and I have a feeling that there will be quite a few people coming forward in light of the motion, I don’t think it will slip away without a fight.

  • Mick Fealty


    Play the bleedin ball! No idea who Tadgh is though it would probably not take too long to work it out. If you are in any doubt, go and check the commenting rules on the sidebar.

    Myuch of the game playing here is designed to distract from the points being raised. If you have nothing to say on them, then say nothing. Or if really want to play the man, then at least have the decency to come out from the cloak of anonymity and tell us who you are and what hidden interests you are serving. If you persist you run the risk, I will do it on your behalf.

    Remember Mulley’s Dictum: Invisible People have invisible rights…


    It’s not a solution, but it is an improvement. It’s a good project, but the real value in like of Stormont Live/Hearts and Minds/Spotlight is the incisive questioning of FitzPatrick/Thompson et al, and often the impromptu but revealing responses thereof…

    Stormont is not the Dail or the Commons, nor even Holyrood. The executive owns the legislative space almost entirely. There have been some good set pieces there, but usually when there is big disruptive move on.

  • gtranni trixie

    Wild Turkey: re “smell someone on the make”. Watched the debate on tele and on Democracy website and for me there were a lot of elephants in the room, MLAs having alterior motives,including the SDLP.

    Would have been amazing, even given the week that in it when victims of abuse got a voice, if MLAs had been genuinely united in humanity.

  • JoMax

    Your post is rather pointless (the word is ‘ulterior’, BTW). What is the point of blethering about ‘elephants in the room’ and ‘motives’ when you don’t specify what you mean?

    Come on, give examples, don’t be vacuous.