Belfast Telegraph

I was victim of abuse in boys' home, Jean McConville's son tells inquiry

By Claire Williamson

The son of a woman "disappeared" by the IRA has claimed he was sexually abused at a boys' home in Co Down.

Billy McConville was six when he went to Rubane House after his mother was abducted, murdered and secretly buried by the IRA in 1972.

Jean McConville's body was recovered on a beach in Co Louth in August 2003.

The disappearance of Mrs McConville, a 37-year-old widow, from her flat in the Divis area of west Belfast left 10 children orphaned, who were then split up as a result.

Yesterday her 48-year-old son waived his right to anonymity to tell the Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry about his "nightmare" at Rubane House.

The boys' home in Co Down, run by the De La Salle order, is currently being investigated by the abuse inquiry. He claimed he was repeatedly sexually abused and starved at the home.

Mr McConville told the inquiry he was abused by some De La Salle Brothers and physically abused by a lay teacher in Rubane House.

He told the inquiry of one occasion when he was beaten so badly for two hours that in the end the only place he wasn't bruised was his face and head.

Mr McConville also said that he was now terrified of priests.

"Anyone in the cloth I run away from, I don't believe in God because I was forced to go to Mass, forced to be an altar boy.

"After a while I became like a robot institutionalised after the things I've seen in there."

Speaking afterwards, he said: "It's the worst nightmare I've ever had in my life.

"My mother (disappearing) was a nightmare, but I sort of tried to get over it.

"But you can't get over what happened to you in the home.

"The impact, it was devastating. We are still living with nightmare after nightmare after nightmare. We aren't getting anywhere with them."

At the end of his evidence Mr McConville pleaded for people to be brought to justice.

The inquiry chairman Sir Anthony Hart reminded him that it's not up to the inquiry to decide if there should be prosecutions and that any allegations will be passed to police.

The inquiry heard a statement from a staff member at Rubane who said that allegations of violence against boys were a complete fabrication.

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