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Active collaboration and the sharing of information and knowledge will be crucial in addressing the needs of mother and baby home survivors, the First Minister has said.

She was speaking following a meeting with Roderic O’Gorman, Irish Government Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth. They discussed the report published by the Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes earlier this month.

Ministers were joined at the meeting by Judith Gillespie, Chair of the Executive’s Inter-Departmental Working Group on Mother and Baby Homes, Magdalene Laundries and Historical Clerical Child Abuse. The research into Mother and Baby Homes and Magdalene Laundries commissioned by the group is intended to be published before the end of this month.

First Minister Arlene Foster said: “We were deeply moved by the harrowing experiences of the women and children recounted in the Commission’s report. They were failed by those who should have cared for and protected them when they needed it most.

“The Commission’s report highlights a number of issues with a cross-border dimension. It is clear that babies were moved between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, in both directions, for the purpose of adoption. We discussed this issue with Minister O’Gorman today and highlighted the importance of sharing knowledge and information for the sake of the survivors of mother and baby homes and adopted people.

We are expecting shortly a report on mother and baby homes in Northern Ireland, and we will work with survivors to ensure this hugely important and sensitive issue is dealt with in the right way.”