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Minister needs to clarify position on child exploitation inquir

2 October, 2013 - by Maeve McLaughlin

Sinn Féin MLA Maeve McLaughlin said she is concerned that the Health Minister has backtracked on the need for an inquiry into the exploitation of children and young people.

The Sinn Féin Health spokesperson and Chair of the Assembly’s Health Committee said the minister needs to come in front of the committee and clarify what exactly is going to take place.

The Foyle MLA said:

“While I welcome the passing of the Sinn Féin motion calling for an inquiry in the Assembly I believe the minister needs to clarify what exactly is the remit of any action he is going to take.

“In the Assembly on Monday he said it was a ‘review’ that he was ordering while previously he had announced that along with the Justice Minister he was setting up an ‘independent, expert-led inquiry’.

“Is it a review or an inquiry? Is it going to be independent and have the power to investigate?  The minister has refused to appear in front of the committee today but I believe he should do so at the next earliest opportunity to outline the terms of and provide clarity of the shape of the investigation that will take place.

“We must ensure first and foremost that our young and vulnerable children and youth are not put at risk again.

“A robust inquiry with proper independence, powers to investigate and accountability mechanisms is required.”

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