Northern Ireland will shortly launch its own major inquiry into the clerical abuse of children in institutions run by the Catholic Church it has been announced.
The Northern Ireland Executive confirmed that the probe will be armed with the power to compel the release of private records and the co-operation of witnesses.
The North's First Minister Peter Robinson and acting deputy First Minister John O'Dowd announced the plan this week, which is expected to require special legislation to investigate historic cases of abuse.
Robinson told The Irish Independent: 'This inquiry will be given the necessary statutory powers to compel people and documents. We will be taking forward legislation in the Assembly to confer statutory powers on the Inquiry and Investigation into Historical Institutional Child Abuse.
'It could take up to two years before the legislation is complete; however, this will not delay the Investigation and Inquiry's work.'
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