He said: “Today’s report is a shocking and damning indictment of a system that sought to protect the reputation of individuals rather than admit to shortcomings or failures that led to the death of young children.
“I can’t begin to imagine how these parents felt in the aftermath of the death of their children. But their pain was clearly compounded by the a system which, in the words of Mr Justice O’Hara, sought to ‘cover up’ the circumstances of these deaths to ‘avoid scrutiny’.
“This report vindicated the long struggle of the parents of Adam Strain, Claire Roberts, Raychel Ferguson, Lucy Crawford and Conor Mitchel for the truth about what needlessly happened to their children.
“For 14 years, this inquiry has attempted to get to the truth of these deaths. And throughout that period, they have been frustrated by evasion from a number of witnesses.
“That’s 14 years lost.
“14 years that families could have spent coming to terms with what happened if they had been told the truth.
“And a significant amount of resource that could have been spent raising standards so that this never happens again.
“Mr Justice O’Hara’s recommendations must be implemented in full.
“Especially the proposal for a duty of candour on medical professionals to tell families about major failures fully and honestly.
“My thoughts today are with the families who have some degree of closure.
“We must all work to ensure no family is subjected to this ordeal again,” added Mr Durkan.