Derry homes residents praise loving care given by Sisters of Nazareth

Inquiry witnesses deny series of allegations of ill-treatment by nuns

St Joseph’s Home, Termonbacca, in Derry. The inquiry into historical institutional abuse at this and another Derry home began in January. Photograph: Trevor McBride

St Joseph’s Home, Termonbacca, in Derry. The inquiry into historical institutional abuse at this and another Derry home began in January. Photograph: Trevor McBride

 


Three former residents at two Derry homes run by the Sisters of Nazareth have spoken positively at the North’s historical abuse inquiry about the care they received.

One witness told the inquiry in Banbridge yesterday he appreciated the nuns who ran the institution. The food, lodgings and the system of care were basic, but good, he said.

He said some older boys did hit younger residents, and nuns did sometimes give those who misbehaved a “warm ear”. But he said that was how things were in the 1950s.

A little Jeyes Fluid was added to baths, but in no way was it an awful experience, he said. The care was as good as possible given the fact so few nuns were caring for more than 70 boys. He denied boys who wet the bed were ritually humiliated by nuns or anyone else.


‘Grateful to Nazareth order’
Work on the Termonbacca farm, the cleaning regime at the weekend and other chores were all reasonable and acceptable, he added. “I will always be grateful to the Nazareth order,” he told the inquiry.

He said it was “an honour” to give testimony to the inquiry and said he found it sad that some boys had to tell the inquiry of negative experiences.

Another witness who stayed in the nuns’ care in the 1960s said one named nun was a like a mother to all the children. She told the inquiry she was a “sickly” child and needed a lot of care. But she said she was well cared for. Asked if she had complaints to make about food or clothing, the witness said: “Definitely not.”

Another witness also described positive experiences at Termonbacca, going to a Dana concert after she won the Eurovision song contest and days out to Donegal.