Abuse inquiry to hear from Derry witnesses

St Joseph's Boys' Home, Termonbacca, in the early 1960s.
St Joseph's Boys' Home, Termonbacca, in the early 1960s.

Six former residents of children’s homes run by the Sisters of Nazareth in Derry will next week give evidence to the biggest child abuse public inquiry ever held in the UK.

The six witnesses were resident in either St Joseph’s Boys’ Home, Termonbacca, or Nazareth House Children’s Home, at Bishop Street.

They are scheduled to give oral testimony to the Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

It’s understood members and former members of the Sisters of Nazareth, as well as other persons associated with the two homes in Derry, will also take the witness stand in the coming weeks. Other former residents are also scheduled to give evidence.

The Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry (HIA) is examining allegations of child abuse in children’s homes and other residential institutions in Northern Ireland from 1922 to 1995.

It has been contacted by more than 400 people who said they were abused in childhood.

Its aim is to establish if there were “systemic failings by institutions or the state in their duties towards those children in their care”.

It will also determine if victims should receive an apology and compensation.

The inquiry panel consists of the chairman and two other government-appointed members who will then produce a final report.

Their report will determine if there were systemic failures in the care of children and make recommendations on matters such as the possible need for a formal apology to victims and future compensation.

The HIA inquiry is due to complete its hearings by June 2015 and deliver its final report to the Northern Ireland Executive in January 2016.