Northern Ireland

Historical Abuse Inquiry: Witness defends treatment by nun

Banbridge courthouse
Image caption The inquiry's public hearings are taking place at Banbridge courthouse in County Down

An elderly woman has been explaining to the Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry why she decided to defend a nun who looked after her as a child.

The pensioner, who was a resident at Nazareth House, Londonderry, said she decided to come forward after reading reports of "all the vile things being said about nuns".

She told the inquiry: "I thought, no, I'm not having that.

"I'm glad I was brought up by the nuns."

The inquiry is examining claims of abuse at 13 Catholic church and state-run homes and training centres in Northern Ireland from 1922 to 1995.

The woman, whose identity cannot be revealed, told the inquiry on Monday: "When I left Nazareth House, I went to live with my mother. I had no happy times at home. My mother wasn't at my wedding, the nun was."

The HIA inquiry was first announced in 2010 and was formally set up by Northern Ireland's first and deputy first ministers on 31 May 2012.

Its aim is to establish if there were "systemic failings by institutions or the state in their duties towards those children in their care".

It will also determine if victims should receive an apology and compensation.

About 70 witnesses have so far given evidence in public hearings that began earlier this year.

The first phase of public hearings have focused on St Joseph's Home, Termonbacca, and Nazareth House children's home, both in Londonderry.

The inquiry's chairman, Sir Anthony Hart, said these hearings were expected to be completed "at the latest by early June".

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