Termonbacca abuse victim: politicians should hang heads in shame

Eugene Gallagher.
Eugene Gallagher.

A Derry man who suffered terrible abuse at a boys’ home in the city says NI politicians should “hang their heads in shame.”

Eugene Gallagher, who spent 13 years in the St. Joseph’s Home at Termonbacca, is furious that political stalemate at Stormont is blocking the implementation of a raft of recommendations - including a compensation scheme for abuse victims - from the Historical Institutional Abuse (HIA) Inquiry which published its findings more than six months ago.

The collapse of power-sharing in January - days after the HIA report was published - means that, without an Executive, the recommendations cannot be enacted.

Mr. Gallagher, who was handed over to the Sisters of Nazareth when just a baby, has branded local politicians a “bunch of amateurs.”

He said: “While they continue to argue the toss about this and that, there are God knows how many people out there still suffering as a result of the abuse - sexual, physical and emotional - they were subjected to as vulnerable and innocent children.

“There are countless people out there who, to this day, remain tormented as a result of the time they spent in the care of others,” he added.

He says politicians need to take urgent action to help the victims of institutional abuse.

“They need help now. Surely political leaders can get around the table and devise a means by which some sort of body can be set up to meet the compensation element of the HIA recommendations.

“People need to work together to ensure this process moves forward. As it stands, the Abuse Inquiry Report is just gathering dust on a shelf. And, in the meantime, victims continue to suffer.

“It’s deeply frustrating that, six months after the inquiry’s findings were published, no action has been taken. We were betrayed by the authorities as children and now it seems we are, once again, being betrayed as adults. We are not political pawns.”

Eugene Gallagher (59), who is now a businessman living in England, says he was regularly beaten by nuns and sexually abused by older boys while he was at Termonbacca between 1962 and 1975.

He says he was also frequently molested by a priest who visited the home.

To read Eugene Gallagher’s full story, click here www.derryjournal.com/news/abuse-victims-punished-again-because-politicians-can-t-agree-1-8045454