Belfast Telegraph

Historical Institutional Abuse inquiry: Lined up naked before they were hosed down

By Deborah McAleese

Describing his childhood as a "living hell", one migrant broke down in tears several times as he gave evidence to the inquiry yesterday.

The 68-year-old had travelled from Australia to give his harrowing testimony in person about the years he had spent in Catholic Church institutions.

While in the care of the Sisters of Nazareth in Nazareth Lodge, Belfast, where he was placed at the age of two after his mother died, he was sexually abused by older boys and a nun. He was also regularly beaten by the nuns.

Chocking back tears, he recalled how the boys were lined up naked for the nuns to check their underwear. If they were dirty, the boys were hosed down.

In 1956 he was transported to Australia at the age of nine, even though he had said he did not want to go.

He later discovered that his father had not wanted him to be sent away either.

In Australia he was subjected to further physical and sexual abuse while in a Christian Brothers home at Tarden in the west of the country.

"My life there was a living hell. I was already deeply traumatised by the abuse I suffered in Nazareth Lodge. I was physically and sexually abused in Tarden. It was a harsh environment of fear and deprivation," he told the inquiry.

He added: "I suffer from a lifetime entrenched in fear and shame because of my childhood. I posess a very deep-seated resentment of what happened to me.

"I lost my family and my identity. Institutional care has had a devastating effect on my family life."

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