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Call for all-island baby homes probe

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First Minister Arlene Foster (right) and deputy First Minister Michelle O'Neill during a media briefing at the Hill of O'Neill centre in Dungannon. Photo: Kelvin Boyes/Press Eye/PA Wire

First Minister Arlene Foster (right) and deputy First Minister Michelle O'Neill during a media briefing at the Hill of O'Neill centre in Dungannon. Photo: Kelvin Boyes/Press Eye/PA Wire

First Minister Arlene Foster (right) and deputy First Minister Michelle O'Neill during a media briefing at the Hill of O'Neill centre in Dungannon. Photo: Kelvin Boyes/Press Eye/PA Wire

There are fresh calls for the Government and the Northern Ireland Executive to hold a cross-Border investigation into mother and baby homes across the island of Ireland.

A letter has been sent to Taoiseach Micheál Martin, First Minister Arlene Foster, and Deputy First Minister Michelle O'Neill on behalf of survivors in both jurisdictions, asking that they "consider directing their respective legislatures to introduce legislation to establish a cross-Border investigation".

The two governments are told in the letter, seen by the Sunday Independent, that the plea comes as a "direct result" of the reports commissioned both North and south.

The obligation of contracting states to co-operate with criminal investigations conducted outside their jurisdiction is a component of "procedural obligation", writes human rights lawyer Kevin Winters.

Mr Winters, of Belfast-based KRW Law, says both governments have "an obligation to seek assistance and an obligation to afford assistance".

In the letter, he points at the "failures" of the Government and the Stormont Executive. The lawyer accuses both of them of "collusion and complicity" with Catholic and Protestant religious authorities in relation to inspecting and regulating the homes, institutionalised forced labour and slavery, forced adoption, cases of disappearance, and trafficking.

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