Boy told to remain silent over abuse allegations, inquiry hears

Witness claims care home nuns were so severe he was reared by the ‘Taliban’

A witness told the Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry he was known by an ID number and beaten repeatedly.

A witness told the Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry he was known by an ID number and beaten repeatedly.


A priest allegedly told a former resident of a Derry orphanage run by nuns that he must never repeat allegations of sexual and other abuse.

A witness told the Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry, which is investigating allegations of ill-treatment of children at a list of care home across Northern Ireland before 1995, he should remain silent. This was because his parents were not married and that was why he was placed in the home at Termonbacca in Derry, run by the Poor Sisters of Nazareth.

The witness, who cannot be identified, said he approached a priest later in life and told him of physical and sexual abuse he suffered and witnessed at the home.

He said the priest replied: “You must never speak about this.”

He said the priest explained: “You and the other orphans are bastards, you are the product of an evil and satanic relationship.”

The witness said: “When a priest tells you that, that sums up the perception – how orphan was perceived. What chance did I have?”

The third day of oral hearings from those former residents of the Termonbacca home who wished to testify.

The witness, who said he was known at the home by his ID number, told of repeated and habitual beatings, of terror, loneliness and abuse. Telling the inquiry of his time at the home, was “a day of freedom” he said, adding that through the inquiry he had met one of his brothers for the first time in decades.

“Looking into the eyes of my eldest brother – he threw his arms around me and we cried. They killed our family. I saw the face of man I dread to think what he must have endured because I was there at the same time.”

He said he had no idea his brothers were also at the same institution.

In later testimony, the witness confirmed that while still a young child at Termonbacca he deliberately wet the bed to protect himself from sexual abuse.

“If I didn’t wet the bed I would wet the bed - what abuser would want to drop the hand on a child saturated in his own urine?” he said.

He alleged that a nun who sometimes slept in a separate room never intervened.

Referring to the nuns, the witness insisted he had been raised in the institution by “the Taliban” such was their cruelty. However he also insisted that some individual nuns were very kind as were civilian workers there.