Northern Ireland

Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry: Child migrant 'sexually abused' in Australia

The inquiry's public hearings are taking place at Banbridge courthouse
The inquiry's public hearings are taking place at Banbridge courthouse

A 70-year-old former child migrant from a Catholic-run home in Londonderry has said he was sexually abused after being shipped to Australia.

Des McDaid, who has waived his right to anonymity, was giving evidence to the Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry.

He had travelled from St Joseph's Home, Termonbacca in Derry to the Clontarf orphanage in Perth, when he was eight.

He said there was a lot of brutality at the Clontarf home and a number of brothers sexually abused the boys.

He said he was sexually abused by older boys, members of the Christian Brothers religious order and a lay teacher.

Mr McDaid, who is originally from County Donegal in the Republic of Ireland, told the inquiry: "The big thing I want you to remember is the helplessness."

He said he was one of 16 boys shipped to Australia in 1953.

He said he was raped by an older boy at the Termonbacca boys home and he was abused by others in Australia.

Using a video link from Australia, he said: "I had a lot more of it over here, from the Christian Brothers etc."

Mr McDaid said he had traced his mother when he was 48 but he said he was worried she would not accept him.

Her first words to him were: "Forgive me, forgive me, forgive me".

The inquiry, sitting in Banbridge, County Down, heard that he is still in touch with his mother and will be visiting her next month.

On Monday, the inquiry heard that 131 children from Northern Ireland, some as young as five, were sent to Australia as child migrants.

The experiences of 50 of them will be heard by the Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry (HIA) either by oral or written evidence.

It is examining the extent of child abuse in religious and state-run institutions in NI from 1922 to 1995.

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