People Before Profit Councillor Eamonn McCann has said the state must take responsibility for “outsourcing” vulnerable children who were then abused within religious and other institutions.
Speaking during the meeting, Mr McCann recounted interviewing and meeting with various victims and spoke of how some people, including people he knew, had died by suicide.
“We should remember when we are talking about people in institutions, and particularly religious institutions, keep in mind the vast majority of these children that were abused were in the care of the State. It is the case that those children were outsourced to religious institutions.”
Colr. McCann related the story of a young man from Derry taken by State officials to a religious institution, who, within 15 minutes of being delivered into their hands, was being abused. “He told me that in my kitchen one day,” Mr McCann said, adding that a few weeks later that same man died by suicide.
Turning his attention to the public gallery, he added: “I see Jon McCourt in the gallery and people wonder how the victims have carried on all those years and it is people like Jon, who have organised and researched and provided inspiration for them all these years.
“A lot of the young people abused were then abused again by being shipped off to the other side of the world, shipped off to Australia and then abused again when they got to Australia.”
He spoke of one local woman who was told on the boat to Australia that she would never be called by her name again. “They told her she had no brothers and sisters, that her mother and father were gone. All of this was lies. They took her identity, they took her family, took her name. For 40 years she tried to find her brother.”
Colr. McCann said the woman knew she had a brother because she remembered him sitting her on a wall in the Daisyfield when she was four years old. He said that when she gathered money as an adult and made her way back looking for her brother she was told in Derry by religious institution that they had no records.
Independent Colr. Gary Donnelly paid tribute to those in the gallery and detailed how he grew up close to Termonbacca but never understood in his youth what people there had endured.
“These were some of the most vulnerable people who were supposed to be being cared for and what they got was neglect and abuse and that neglect and abuse was compounded by cover ups.
“This delay in compensation shows a lack of compassion and it only adds insult to injury and prolongs the ordeal of the victims,” he said.