Victims of child abuse in church and state-run institutions in Northern Ireland have called for an investigation similar to the Ryan report.

A Belfast solicitor acting for some of the victims has written to the First and Deputy First Ministers detailing their demands.

The victims say they have been discriminated against because inquiries in the Republic have not been extended to Northern Ireland.

The Ryan report, published in Dublin earlier this year, said sexual abuse was endemic in boys' institutions and a chronic problem in some residential institutions run by Catholic religious orders.

The Northern Ireland abuse victims have called for a similar probe to highlight their suffering.

Solicitor Joe Rice has requested that Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness establish an inquiry under the relevant legislation to inquire into child abuse in Northern Ireland over the past 60 years.

British Northern Secretary Shaun Woodward has been asked to fund the inquiry along the lines of the state-sponsored investigation conducted into the child sex abuse scandal at Kincora Boys' Home in east Belfast in the 1980s.

Mr Rice said the number of victims could run into the hundreds and they included former Northern Ireland residents now living in England and the US.

'Our clients feel that they are totally disadvantaged, they feel that they are being discriminated against because if their abuse had taken place in the Republic of Ireland instead of Northern Ireland, they would have had at this stage the benefit of a commission to examine their complaints.'