Northern Ireland

Historical Abuse Inquiry: Termonbacca resident tells of abuse

Termonbacca
Image caption St Joseph's Home, Termonbacca, was run by the Sisters of Nazareth order of nuns

A priest told a former resident of a children's home in Northern Ireland he was the product of an evil and satanic relationship, an inquiry has heard.

The witness lived at St Joseph's in Termonbacca, Londonderry, in the 1950s.

He said he became a zombie, introverted and fearing the next beating.

The Historical Abuse Inquiry is investigating abuse claims against children's residential institutions from 1922 to 1995.

Termonbacca and another Derry home, Nazareth House, were run by the Sisters of Nazareth.

The former Termonbacca resident said he lay soaked in urine at night in an attempt to dissuade any sexual abusers.

The man, now 65, said he was never told he had brothers in the same home and sisters in another nearby.

He said he witnessed an eight-year-old boy being sexually abused, a 10-year-old boy being raped and that he had been hit on the head with a steel industrial ladle.

He said he complained about his treatment to a priest after leaving the home.

The response was: "You must never speak about this, you must understand... you and the other orphans are bastards. You are the product of an evil and satanic relationship. You never had a chance."

The witness said: "That was the day I left the Catholic Church."

'Like being reared by Taliban'

He added: "The truth is setting me free today more than this commission knows. I have come here to tell the truth and as I am reaching out, I am reaching out in healing and trying to forgive, but at this moment I cannot.

"I have waited 65 years to say this. When I was reared by the Sisters of the Congregation of Nazareth it was equivalent to being reared by the Taliban, such was their sadism, their lack of empathy, their fundamentalism, their lack of dignity to the little helpless boy."

He said he ran away but was brought back time after time.

One nun smirked and said: "Welcome back, your majesty," the witness said. "Then the beatings would start."

The inquiry, being held in Banbridge, County Down, is chaired by retired judge Sir Anthony Hart and is considering cases in 13 residential institutions.

Public hearings are due to finish in June 2015, with the inquiry team to report to the Northern Ireland Executive by the start of 2016.

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