‘If no-one else suffers I’ll be very happy’

Patrick O'Rourke pictured abck at Termonbacca where he lived as a boy.
Patrick O'Rourke pictured abck at Termonbacca where he lived as a boy.
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A 72-year-old man who was subjected to repeated abuse as a child in Termonbacca said he hoped such horrors will never again be visited on young children.

Patrick O’Rourke was just five years old when he was taken to St. Joseph’s Boys Home in Termonbacca by his mother before spending eight years there.

For the first time Patrick has spoken about the effects of the physical, sexual and emotional abuse he and others endured and how he hoped the findings of the recent Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry will help safeguard future generations of young people.

The Donegal native still bears the physical scars of the injuries he sustained during repeated attacks by older boys or ‘seniors’ at the Derry home.

He said the “coldness” he experienced over the years there had affected him deeply.

Mr. O’Rourke said that he hoped that talking about the impact of such traumatic experiences will help dispel the myth that the suffering ended when abused children left such institutions.

He further hopes to raise awareness of the fact that severe depression was not something people could overcome on their own.

Mr. O’Rourke said he was glad that “the truth has come out at last.”

He praised the understanding shown to the victims by the people involved in the Inquiry but added that he had been worried he would “break down completely” after giving evidence several years ago.

“It was very difficult, I must admit. Many people like us are in very, very vulnerable positions healthwise after everything we have been through.

“At the time people didn’t understand society as a whole. “In the South they eventually had to set up things like the ‘Ryan Report’ and they believed it in the end.”

Mr. O’Rourke, who now lives in Dublin, has maintained an active working life and built up sporting achievements despite his horrendous experiences.

“After we’re gone - and I’m at the end of my life - if no-one else suffers like that, then I’ll be very happy.”