Migrant gives evidence at abuse inquiry

Published Tuesday, 02 September 2014
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A man who was abused as a child at a Catholic home in Londonderry has told the Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry he had no idea where he was going when he was sent to Australia.

Des McDaid, 70, who has waived his right to anonymity, spoke to the inquiry by video-link from Australia.

He said he was raped by an older boy during his time at Termonbacca boys' home in Derry.

Mr McDaid, who is originally from Co Donegal, said he was bathed in Jeyes cleaning fluid and thrown into the air at the institution which was run by the Sisters of Nazareth religious order.

He arrived in Fremantle in 1953 as part of the child migration scheme.

When he was moved aged eight to the Clontarf institution near Perth in western Australia, he said the abuse continued and he was targeted by older boys, a lay teacher and members of the Christian Brothers.

"I had a lot more of it over here, from the Christian Brothers etc," he said.

Mr McDaid thought he had no parents until the age of 48, when he was reunited with his mother, who said she did not give her consent for him to be moved.

His mother, who now lives in Kent, told him: "Forgive me, forgive me, forgive me."

The inquiry resumed hearings on Monday, focusing on the child migration programme.

Over the next three weeks evidence will be heard from 50 people who are now living in Australia.

A number of witnesses are scheduled to give their evidence in person but most will give evidence by video-link.

Documentation examined by the Inquiry has revealed that approximately 140 young children from Northern Ireland who were in the care of voluntary institutions, or state bodies, were sent to Australia as child migrants between 1922 and 1995.

The Sisters of Nazareth order of Catholic nuns was responsible for the removal of 111 child migrants aged as young as five, some of whom faced sexual and physical violence after arrival.

The Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry was formally established in January 2013 by the Northern Ireland Executive. It has a remit to investigate child abuse which occurred in residential institutions in Northern Ireland over a 73-year period up to 1995.

A total of 13 institutions in Northern Ireland are currently under investigation by the Inquiry in relation to allegations of historical institutional abuse and/or neglect.

In total, the inquiry is expected to hear from more than 300 witnesses during the course of the public evidence sessions.

© UTV News
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3 Comments
Joan in Co Down wrote (109 days ago):
Such betrayal of innocent children and sexual abuses,and beatings was must inhuman and unchristian by those who know better in all institutions. Tragedy for the most helpless little children in care is a sin against humanity of every one especially vulnerable who had no one to stand up for them Unforgiveable their evil may be in against Holy Spirit
jean in dungannon wrote (111 days ago):
Why is this all being brought up now after so many years? Cannot for the life of me understand why.
Reality in Belfast wrote (111 days ago):
Firstly my thoughts are with all of those adults who experienced all of this. Secondly - enquiries are important nit when are charges ever going to be brought to those still alive who perpetrated and took part in this.
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