SDLP leader Colum Eastwood has said that in the interests of justice and to meet the needs of survivors, a public inquiry should be held into the operation of mother and baby homes in Northern Ireland.
The Foyle MP said that any evidence that institutions of faith and the state were allowed to exercise coercive control over new mothers and their children must be pursued.
Said Mr Eastwood: “The research report into the operation of mother and baby homes in the North is now long overdue.
“It is unacceptable that survivors of these institutions continue to experience unjustifiable delay that compounds the pain they have to live with.
“The truth is that our society, through institutions of faith and the state, exercised a coercive control over new mothers and their babies.
“The experiences of forced adoption, detention and physical labour are chilling and cannot go unchallenged.
“The invasive and pervasive puritanical attitude that allowed these acts, some of them clearly criminal in character, was inflicted on these women and their children by a narrow, close-minded society.
“The society that we have become today, and must continue to evolve into, must offer truth, justice and accountability to these survivors.
“And we must offer them a full apology for their experience.
“The Executive should move quickly to publish the research report and then call a full public inquiry.”