Northern Ireland

HIA inquiry: Children were called 'sons of whores' in Belfast home says witness

The Historical Institutional Abuse inquiry is taking place in Banbridge courthouse, County Down
Image caption The Historical Institutional Abuse inquiry is sitting at Banbridge courthouse, County Down

The Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry has been told children were taunted by some nuns and treated "like slaves" at a Belfast children's home.

The claim was made by an Irish emigrant, now aged 69, who gave evidence to the inquiry via video-link from Australia.

The inquiry is examining abuse claims at Nazareth House and Nazareth Lodge.

The homes were run by the Sisters of Nazareth, who have made an apology to all in their care.

The pensioner, who broke down and cried during part of his testimony, said children at Nazareth Lodge were called "sons of whores".

'Bad children'

He explained that he did not understand what the term meant, "except that it was obviously bad and meant we were all very bad children".

The witness, who is still trying to trace his mother, described how a visitor once asked him if he liked living in the home.

"I told her we were treated like slaves," he said.

The inquiry also heard how he was sexually abused by older boys at the home.

'Too late'

He said: "Disgusting things were done to me that I don't want to talk about."

Concluding his testimony, the elderly witness rejected an apology from the Sisters of Nazareth.

He said it was "too late" for the children who were abused in "their cruel and brutal regime".

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