Abuse inquiry forced to apologise over privacy breach

St. Joseph's Boys' Home, Termonbacca.
St. Joseph's Boys' Home, Termonbacca.

The body investigating historical claims of abuse at Derry care homes for children has been forced to issue an apology - after an error led to a number of names of witnesses who requested anonymity appearing on the inquiry’s official website.

The Derry Journal was contacted by a former of resident of St. Joseph’s Boys home in Termonbacca earlier this week who said he had been able to find reference not only to himself but to his siblings by name in daily transcripts published on the Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry website.

The ‘Journal’ examined a sample of daily transcripts and found a number of other witness names.

The majority of these privacy breaches related to the indexing of the day’s hearing.

The man told the ‘Journal’: “A lot of very bad things happened to me at Termonbacca. What we went through...

“When I decided to give evidence

“I was asked if I wanted to waive my anonymity - and I replied that I did not. To find my name... to me it just says they considered us worse than dogs on the street. We deserved respect - and we feel betrayed.”

When the ‘Journal’ contacted the Inquiry regarding the issue, action was taken to correct the errors and withdraw any identifying information from the Inquiry’s website.

A spokesperson said: “The Inquiry takes the issue of anonymity very seriously.”